International Paper: Responsible Fiber Procurement in the US - Mapping the Forest Landscape for Supply Chain Impact

International Paper is one of the world’s leading producers of fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper, with more than 52,000 employees and more than 25,000 customers in 150 countries. The company’s ambition is to improve people’s lives, the planet and our company’s performance by transforming renewable resources into recyclable products that people depend on every day.

By identifying global trends material to our business, International Paper focuses on the issues where it can make the largest improvement. International Paper demonstrates its alignment with key SDGs through activities throughout our value chain, partnerships and community engagement initiatives.

Summary

As a large packaging, pulp and paper manufacturer, International Paper’s (IP) entire business depends on the sustainability of forests. Although the company was once a large landowner and manager in North America, its fiber supply operations now focus solely on procurement of wood from largely private landowners and suppliers. This means that IP’s day-to-day procurement activities can impact large forested landscapes simply through responsible purchasing actions.

In 2018, IP piloted and launched an innovative risk based due diligence system in North America to ensure fiber procurement activities do not compromise the environmental values of the forests from which the fiber is sourced. The effort uses ‘IP ForestView’, a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based mapping technology application to assess forest tracts for existence of important species or forest habitat values prior to harvest. The presence of such values will prompt a discussion between IP, the supplier or landowner about responsible forest management approaches to protect and/or enhance the attribute.

IP ForestView builds on the company’s commitment to transparent procurement by opening the door to landowner and supplier outreach and education to advance forest stewardship throughout its north American supply chains.

Background

Forests store carbon, purify drinking water, are a habitat for wildlife and provide a source of livelihood for millions. They also enable us to make products our families depend on every day. At International Paper, our entire business depends on the sustainability of forests. The company is taking action to ensure the future of our forests through advancing responsible sourcing and procurement, which delivers directly on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Additionally, International Paper works with landowners every day to advance responsible management practices and increase the availability of certified fiber.

In the U.S., 90% of our wood fiber comes from private landowners who are critical to ensuring the social, environmental, and economic viability of our industry (SDG 8). International Paper recognized an opportunity to amplify our commitment to transparency in sourcing and to advance sustainable forest management actions through the utilization of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to better visualize and manage the environmental attributes of the forests from which the company sources.

Initiative

IP stakeholders are increasingly concerned that the products the company makes meet their expectations for safeguarding the social and environmental capital in our supply chain while also delivering quality and performance. After piloting a forest mapping initiative in one of our mill fiber basins to gain more information about specific forest types, International Paper recognized an opportunity to integrate forest mapping across our U.S. mills to gain better visibility to high priority species and forest types in our sourcing areas. Integrating a mapping application into our procurement routines allows IP fiber buyers to check for conservation values in the forest prior to harvest, and then to apply appropriate due diligence to advance forest management recommendations.

Due diligence actions are largely focused on outreach to suppliers and landowners, critical partners, to identify opportunities to influence and advance sustainable forest management practices. International Paper recognize that the potential for positive impact on the landscape is directly linked to our relationships with forestland owners and managers.   

Key outcomes & lessons learned

Although our implementation of IP ForestView is still in the first phase, International Paper is already identifying opportunities to advance sustainable forest management through conversations with landowners and suppliers. It is recording every time ForestView identifies a forest attribute that invokes due diligence follow up, and it is documenting what due diligence actions are taken by IP fiber buyers, as well as subsequent management changes on the landscape. International Paper look forward to communicating progress through various channels in 2020, as well as reporting in our Global Citizenship Report. 

Next Steps

International Paper is exploring opportunities to scale IP ForestView to our non-U.S. mills and procurement activities in other countries.

More information

To learn more about about International Paper's projects and initiatives, please consult http://www.internationalpaper.com/planet

Key SDGs impacted

This site uses cookies.

Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.