In this article, industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by building service contractors.

Q: What is sustainable forestry and why should it matter to BSCs?

The concept of sustainable forestry means that we aim to reach for a balance between the environmental impact of cutting trees, society's demand for forest products and the prosperity of forest-dependent communities. These represent the three axis of sustainable development and by applying a number of criteria and indicators on these three axis, we are able to limit our impact.

Sustainable forestry is an important issue because deforestation contributes to 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, according to the Environmental Paper Network

Sometimes, we have no choice but to use virgin pulp and in so doing, we will give preference to purchasing market pulp originating from Forest Stewardship Council certified operations and from other certification schemes as long as they meet the Controlled Wood requirements.

— Élaine Tassoni, communications and sustainability advisor and Steve Ott, product manager, Cascades Tissue Group, Waterford, N.Y.

Sustainable forest management involves meeting society’s need for forest products and other benefits, while respecting the values people attach to forests and preserving forest health and diversity.The concept is finding the balance between society's increasing demands for forest products and benefits and the preservation of forest health and diversity. This balance is critical to the survival of forests, and to the prosperity of forest-dependent communities.

By purchasing products from sustainable forests, contractors are ensuring their offering products from a responsible source. Purchasing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified products ensures the fiber used is not from:
1. Non-FSC certified forest areas having high conservation value which are threatened,
2. Genetically-modified trees,
3. Natural forest areas that have been converted to plantations for non-forest use,
4. Illegal sources, or
5. Areas where traditional or civil rights are violated.

— By Steven Sage, corporate director of sustainability & innovation, Kruger Products, L.P., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Sustainable forestry can be defined in a number of ways depending on the organization or agency using the term. The definition used by the Food & Agriculture Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is: “the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way and at a rate that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions at local, national and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. In response to public concern about deforestation, FSC has developed a proven system of forest certification and product labeling that allows consumers to identify wood and wood-based products from well-managed forests.
FSC chain-of-custody procedures provide a link between the forest where the fiber originated and the product into which it is manufactured. FSC chain-of-custody certification requires control systems and procedures that:
• Account for FSC-certified wood as it passes along the supply chain, providing a link from the forest where the fiber originated to the product into which it is manufactured;
• Ensure that any non-FSC-certified wood is from non-controversial sources;
• Ensure that sources of recycled fiber and levels of post-consumer content are verified.

There are several organizations that certify wood and wood-based products, including: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI)

, Canadian Standards Association’s National Sustainable Forest Management Standards (CSA)

, Sistema Brasileiro de Certificacao Florestal (CERFLOR) in Brazil

, Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC).

Given the world’s continuing reliance on virgin fiber in combination with the rate of global population and economic growth, the world’s forests are under more pressure than ever. Principles of sustainable forest management are no longer a “nice to do;” they are an economic, social and environmental imperative.
Third-party forest certification has emerged as an important tool to measure and communicate the social and environmental performance of forest operations, which allows building service contractors to signal to their constituents (tenants, facility operators, employees, etc.) and the products they are utilizing are sourced responsibly.

— Howard Connell, global sustainability leader for Kimberly-Clark Professional, Roswell, Ga.


previous page of this article:
Controlling Towel & Tissue Overuse
next page of this article:
Defining Common Green Paper Terminology