Forests provide value to society in many ways. They help protect air and water quality, supply important habitat for wildlife, offer recreational opportunities and provide economic value. Georgia-Pacific relies on forests for the wood and wood fiber used to make the paper and building products people want and need. We are committed to helping maintain healthy forests now and into the future and using resources more efficiently. We follow and promote good science‐based forest protection and enhancement practices. As a company that does not own forestland, Georgia-Pacific takes steps to assure our customers and consumers that we are legally and responsibly sourcing the wood and fiber we use in our mills.
Georgia‐Pacific supports the value of preserving the world’s unique and endangered forests and maintaining forest diversity, and believes that some lands should be protected because of their unique or rare qualities.
Endangered Forests and Special Areas:
We are actively mapping endangered forests and special areas in regions where we purchase wood and fiber in the United States. We use a scientific methodology — developed with an expert in ecology and geographic information system mapping from the University of Georgia — that considers the values associated with endangered forests and special areas. Once mapped, Georgia‐Pacific doesn't buy wood fiber from these areas except in unique situations when active forest management is needed to improve habitat for endangered, rare and/or vulnerable species. As part of this process, we have:
- Worked with environmental organizations, including Dogwood Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council and Rainforest Action Network, to understand the values they believe are important in identifying endangered forests and special areas. We also continue to work with these organizations to review scientific data used to identify and map these areas.
- Implemented procedures to help ensure we don’t receive wood from endangered forests. These procedures include employee training, tracking systems for the delivery of wood fiber, contract requirements, and individual meetings with our suppliers to explain our expectations.
Maintaining Forest Diversity:
A healthy forest ecosystem, as well as a diverse forest products industry, needs both softwood and hardwood forests. The fiber from natural hardwood forests is an important component of many of the paper and tissue products Georgia-Pacific makes. To help maintain forest diversity, we support efforts to grow and maintain natural hardwood forests in areas where they are best suited. To address concerns about the sustainability of these forests, which can be vulnerable to conversion to pine forests, and help ensure we have an adequate fiber supply to meet our current and future needs, Georgia-Pacific is mapping natural hardwood forests in regions where we purchase wood and fiber in the United States using U.S. Geological Survey data and our own local knowledge. We have a monitoring process in place to help ensure that we won’t buy pine fiber if any of these areas are converted to pine plantations after 2008.
Wildlife and Habitat Conservation:
Healthy, diverse and sustainable forests provide critical habitat for wildlife. Georgia-Pacific works with others in the forestry and environmental community to support wildlife and forest enhancement projects in communities near Georgia-Pacific operations. Our efforts include protection of endangered species, restoration of forest ecosystems and promotion of wildlife diversity.
Legal and sustainable sourcing
Georgia-Pacific is committed to knowing the sources of all the wood fiber and forest products we buy and to understanding, from a landscape perspective, the sustainability of those areas where we buy fiber. We do not knowingly purchase illegally harvested or traded forest products, and we make sure our suppliers are aware of our expectations. Georgia-Pacific actively participates in the development, implementation and ongoing improvement of applicable certification standards that promote sustainable forest management in the United States and other countries as a way to verify responsible forestry. We view competition among these programs as important to continually improving the practice of sustainable forestry on all lands. We also promote the use of landscape approaches to provide additional assurance of sustainability.
Wood Fiber Sourcing in the United States
Georgia-Pacific purchases all its virgin wood fiber for its U.S. operations from landowners and other third-party suppliers in the United States, where private property rights, a free market, and the rule of law create a base of sustainable practices that GP continues to build on.
- Georgia-Pacific holds several sustainable forestry certifications and maintains them through regular third-party audits across all its operating areas. Summary results of audits periodically are made public to interest groups and other stakeholders.
- In addition to following certification standards, Georgia-Pacific uses internal controls to verify the legality and sustainability of its domestic sources of wood fiber and forest products. These controls include: contract requirements; Georgia-Pacific’s Supplier Sustainability Guidelines; extensive local knowledge of fiber basins where we have foresters on the ground; outreach to forest landowners; use of trained loggers in harvesting activities; and maintenance of long-term relationships with suppliers.
- When our customers request further assurances, Georgia-Pacific works to provide wood certified by established and recognized certification systems.
Wood Product Sourcing in Other Countries
Georgia-Pacific purchases some market pulp and other semi-finished and finished wood-fiber-based products from other countries.
- For imported wood-fiber-based products, Georgia-Pacific requires documentation of the species and country of origin along with that country’s required legal documentation.
- Georgia-Pacific evaluates risk levels and public concerns about harvesting practices outside of the United States by conducting a due diligence process, which includes reviewing public information, meeting with suppliers about sustainable forestry commitments, and engaging with third-party groups that have local knowledge.
- Georgia-Pacific will not purchase wood-fiber-based products from sources in Indonesia and other highrisk areas unless potential suppliers are independently verified and measures are in place that provide Georgia-Pacific assurance that 1) harvesting is legal; 2) high-conservation-value forests and peatlands are assessed and protected where appropriate; and 3) areas and issues important to local communities and indigenous people are respected.
- Where it operates within Canada’s boreal region, Georgia-Pacific will actively support collaborative and science-based efforts to identify, map and protect endangered forests in the boreal region to help achieve the recovery of species at risk, including woodland caribou, and continue to support collaboration and dialogue to recognize and respect indigenous peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge.
Both virgin and recycled fiber are critical components in the papermaking process. Georgia-Pacific’s consumer products and containerboard businesses support paper recycling as a way to capture a valuable source of wood fiber for reuse as well as to conserve landfill space. These businesses use both virgin and recycled fiber in their paper and paperboard products to provide the qualities and performance customers and consumers want. They are part of an industry with some of the highest recovery rates of any product in the world. GP Harmon Recycling, a Georgia-Pacific company, is one of the world’s largest buyers and sellers of recycled fiber and supplies GP facilities as well as sells to other recycled fiber users.
- Georgia-Pacific’s consumer products and containerboard businesses have a current combined recovered fiber use rate of approximately 25 percent of their total fiber use. Georgia-Pacific will strive to maintain or increase this rate over time, subject to the availability of recovered fiber of the appropriate quality to meet customer needs.
- Georgia-Pacific will continue efforts to find new ways to recover usable fiber from the waste stream.
- Georgia-Pacific will continue to participate in the industry effort to recover 70 percent of paper consumed in the United States by 2020.