Metsä Board knows the origin of the raw materials – wood, chemicals and energy – that it uses in the manufacture of its products. All of the wood is fully traceable to its source, regardless of its country of origin and whether it comes from a certified forest. Metsä Group purchases wood from Finland, Sweden, the Baltic countries and Russia. More than 80 per cent of the wood comes from certified sources.
“Traceability simply means that we can verify the sources of the wood and the legitimacy and sustainability of the entire supply chain,” says
Jussi Ripatti, environmental director at Metsä Group.
The traceability and transparency of the entire value chain also ensure that packaging made from Metsä Board’s paperboard meets product safety requirements.
Metsä Group’s wood tracing systems are certified and verified according to PEFC and FSC Chain of Custody requirements. Other raw materials and services are also purchased from reliable suppliers complying with Metsä Group’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
Supporting diversity and marketing
Forest certification has been used in Finland since the PEFC was widely adopted at the beginning of the new millennium. More than 90 per cent of commercial forests in Finland have PEFC certification, while around 6 per cent have FSC certification. Of all the forests in the world, only around 10 per cent are certified, which puts Finland in a class of its own.
For Metsä Group, FSC and PEFC certification are supplementary ways to foster the diversity of forest environments and support the marketing of forest industry products. In terms of responsibility, both serve as a reliable way to prove the origin of products. In this respect, there are no significant differences between the systems. Their differences are related to areas protected from felling and the number of retention trees, as well as the size of buffer zones around natural water systems.
“PEFC was initially introduced in Finland largely because of its group certification model, which favours small forest owners. Today, FSC features group certification as well,” says Ripatti.
In Finland, nearly two-thirds of commercial forests are owned by private citizens and families, with the average size of forest assets being small: 30 hectares.
All of Metsä Group's wood is fully traceable to its source, regardless of its country of origin and whether it comes from a certified forest (as more than 80 per cent does).
Nordic countries lead the way
Thorsten Arndt, head of communications at PEFC, a bottom-to-top operating model that focuses on local operators makes the PEFC particularly suitable for small forest owners. Its operating model allows for the development of national standards based on local special characteristics and in alignment with PEFC’s globally recognised sustainability benchmarks. According to Arndt, this explains the global popularity of the PEFC as the most widely used forest certification system.
“In our opinion, the development of standards and ownership at the national level are key factors in successful forest certification,” says Arndt.
Currently, PEFC is working on expanding the system to cover the rest of Asia in addition to China, as well as Africa. Especially in these cases, paying attention to local factors is important.
“For example, these areas do not always have a well-functioning network of local forest organisations, which is tremendously important to enable smallholders to obtain certification. For this reason, we greatly appreciate the example set and support provided by Nordic forest owners’ associations for creating and strengthening similar local operators,” says Arndt.
He says that the Nordic countries are exemplary promoters of sustainable forestry.
“Urban people are not necessarily that much in touch with forests anymore, but people in the Nordic countries have managed to maintain a very personal, appreciative relationship with forests.”