Elements of a Leading Policy

What’s in a leading Environmental Paper Procurement Policy?

The benchmark for meaningful environmental performance has shifted during the past decade as more companies develop rigorous sustainability programs. Canopy recommends that a credible and leading environmental paper procurement policy includes the following principles and language[i]:

Vision Statement and Compatibility with Corporate Mission

Articulate how the policy purpose reflects the corporate sustainability vision and mission of your company and encourages environmental leadership throughout the sector.

High Forest Carbon and Conservation Value and Endangered Forest Protection

Highlight the importance and promotion of High Conservation Value[ii] and High Carbon Value and Ancient and Endangered Forest[iii] protection through responsible paper procurement in the vision statement.

Conservation of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Give preference to suppliers that work toward conservation of endangered forests and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems contained within these forests,

Work toward phasing out and finding suitable alternatives to any fibre sourced from high conservation value forests.

Joint Solutions and Conservation Agreements

Support large-scale protection of High Conservation Value and Endangered forest areas such as the Boreal, Indonesian and South American Rainforests, and temperate rainforests of the Pacific North West, joint solutions and visionary conservation agreements such as the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.

Maximize Paper Efficiencies

Set goals for efficient waste free paper use and implement processes to increase paper efficiencies.

Maximize Recycled Content

Set out an objective to maximize recycled content in paper procurement.

Responsible Forest Management

Work with suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure that forest management practices conserve endangered forests and support biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.

Conduct due diligence with paper suppliers regarding their forest management practices, and preference Forest Stewardship Council Certification on the ground in the forest.

Ensure no fibre comes from illegal sources.

Ensure that no fibre comes from plantations established after 1994 and only source from FSC certified plantations.

Consideration of Alternative Fiber Sources

Support the research and development of paper from agricultural residues, such as wheat straw residues, and source it where possible.

Pollution Prevention

Set out a preference for paper manufactured by suppliers that use effective pollution prevention measures,

Source paper that is produced with responsible bleaching technologies.

Decrease Carbon Footprint

Preference paper manufactured by suppliers that transparently report on scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions including biogenic and terrestrial forest carbon loss associated with logging.

And preference suppliers that use cutting-edge measures to reduce their carbon footprint and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Decrease the distance from which your paper is sourced when other environmental attributes can be achieved as well.

Policy Promotion and Stakeholder Engagement

Set out a plan to promote your policy with industry peers and to engage with ENGO stakeholders to meaningfully consult on the implementation of the policy.

Promote constructive encouragement by the company with their suppliers on policy compliance.

Safeguard Human Rights

Ensure free, prior and informed consent[iv], [v] of local peoples and communities in the areas from which pulp and paper originates.

Timelines, Benchmarks, and Accountability

Set out timelines, benchmarks, and mechanisms for accountability to implement the policy.

Plan to publish annual sustainability reports to GRI G4 principals at a minimum[vi].

Includes reference to leading paper guidance system like The Paper Steps.

Includes a plan to increase the use of paper from the top steps of The Paper Steps while reducing the use of papers the meet the criteria of the bottom 2 steps of The Paper Steps.

Contact Canopy for support for policy development that meets your corporate needs:  canopy@canopyplanet.org


[i] A leading policy sets out a vision and plan that exceeds compliance with local, state, federal and international law and includes the leadership elements outlined here.

[ii] High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) are defined by the Forest Stewardship Council as forests of outstanding and critical importance due to their high environmental, socio-economic biodiversity or landscape values, according to six HCV categories:

a. Forest areas containing globally, nationally or regionally significant concentrations of biodiversity values;

b. Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant large landscape level forests;

c. Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems;

d. Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations;

e. Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities;

f. Forest areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity.

[iii] Ancient and Endangered Forest are defined as intact forest landscape mosaics, naturally rare forest types, forest types that have been made rare due to human activity, and/or other forests that are ecologically critical for the protection of biological diversity. Ecological components of endangered forests are: Intact forest landscapes; Remnant forests and restoration cores; Landscape connectivity; Rare forest types; Forests of high species richness; Forests containing high concentrations of rare and endangered species; Forests of high endemism; Core habitat for focal species; Forests exhibiting rare ecological and evolutionary phenomena. As a starting point to geographically locate ancient and endangered forests, maps of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and of intact forest landscapes (IFL), can be used and paired with maps of other key ecological values like the habitat range of key endangered species and forests containing high concentrations of terrestrial carbon and High Carbon Stocks (HCS). (The Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments. This has been reviewed by conservation groups, corporations, and scientists such as Dr. Jim Strittholt, President and Executive Director of the Conservation Biology Institute, and has been adopted by corporations for their forest sourcing policies).

[iv] See the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the ‘Ruggie Report’ to the UN on Business and Human Rights, FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and Forest Peoples Programme Guiding Principles (http:// www.forestpeoples.org/guiding-principles/free-prior-and-informedconsent-fpic).

[v] FSC also provides guidelines for Free Prior Informed Consent.

[vi] Leading sustainability reports also report on forest conservation engagement and details on FSC and recycled paper use.