Getting Smallholders Invested in Sustainability | WWF

Getting Smallholders Invested in Sustainability

Posted on 16 October 2014
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images
Domtar Corporation recently reached a major milestone: selling its five millionth ton of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified uncoated fine paper. This is a first for the North American market and marks an important step in Domtar’s larger goal of 100 percent FSC certified sourcing.

The company, the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America, has been involved with multiple "firsts" with FSC in the region. It was the first North American company to achieve FSC forest management certification in 2000, and sold the first FSC-certified general use copy paper in North America in 2005.

Over the years, Domtar has sought strategic ways to increase its use of FSC-certified fiber. One of its main strategies is engagement with small landowners, particularly in the Southeast US where the company sources much of its wood. Domtar facilitated the establishment of the Four States Timberland Owners Association (FSTOA) in 2010, a group comprised of 55 smallholders from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The association enables small and large landowners to take advantage of FSC’s Family Forests Program by aggregating holdings with other members of the association in order to become FSC certified.

In return for committing to the rigorous environmental and social standards prescribed by FSC, landowners receive technical assistance and training from Domtar in various aspects of responsible forest management. Domtar also manages the group certificate for them, and the smallholders have a guarantee that the neighboring Ashdown Mill will purchase their wood. By joining the group certificate, landowners receive financial benefit, while being recognized for implementing best practices that will sustain their forests well into the future. This incentivizes landowners to keep forests as forests, rather than converting them for other uses.

Domtar has participated in WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network-North America (GFTN-NA) program since 2008. GFTN-NA participants commit to eliminating any controversial sources of wood in their supply chain and progressively increase their volumes of FSC certified or recycled material over time. Like Domtar, other GFTN-NA participants have made significant achievements with respect to their responsible sourcing commitments, such as Kimberly-Clark, which has increased its use of FSC fiber by 111 percent since 2009, and Tetra Pak, which reached its goal of 100 percent FSC certified printing and writing paper products in its US and Canada offices in 2013.

Why is this so significant for the fate of the world’s forests? Increased uptake of FSC in the marketplace ultimately drives forest conservation on the ground. FSC certification ensures protection for old growth forests, rare and endangered species, and other high conservation values. It also offers protection for water bodies and limits pesticide use. Additionally, it brings economic and social benefits to workers and communities, such as better living and working conditions, as well as the protection of indigenous rights.

For more information, contact:
Amy Smith, Manager, Wood Sector Engagement, WWF Global Forest & Trade Network-North America.
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images
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