“From forest to shelf”: Behind the FSC Chain of Custody certification

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From groceries to clothing, making truly ethical and environmentally sustainable choices can prove challenging. After all, from start to finish, there are countless steps that go into bringing a product to the shelf.

We’ve long recognized this challenge – and the importance of keeping the entire supply chain environmentally responsible. 

One way we do this in our paper mill and manufacturing process is through meeting the standards for the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) Chain of Custody certification. Along with meeting rigorous standards to ensure our products and materials are sourced from well-managed forests, it’s also our way to stay transparent about our sustainability efforts. 

Setting sustainability goals and making commitments is important but holding ourselves accountable to those goals is what helps us – and our customers – truly have a positive environmental and societal impact.

Maintaining a sustainable supply chain

Essentially, the FSC Chain of Custody certification reflects that our paper products and materials are made from responsible sources: from either FSC certified forests or recycled fibers. 

As FSC puts it, the certification process tracks products from forest to shelf. Every company that strives for this certification has to follow requirements for how to verify, track and mix forest fiber types and sources. Every FSC label has a specific number, so you can track its origins right back to the source. Third party organizations also verify these operations to ensure we’re meeting the standard. 

In Rolland’s case, we’re meeting it across our business, including at our paper mill and two state-of-the-art facilities that produce premium recycled fiber. This supply chain gives us full control over the fiber and papermaking process, making for superior quality assurance. All Rolland products contain up to 100% FSC certified recycled fibers, so they include one of two labels:

  1. FSC Recycled labels can be seen on our Rolland Enviro® products which contain 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  2. FSC MIX labels can be found on our 30% recycled products such as Rolland Opaque® , because they contain a blend of FSC certified virgin and recycled fiber content.

Earning certifications like the FSC Chain of Custody label is essential because it reinforces that there’s integrity behind our sustainability promise. In turn, it assists our customers in their own sustainability journeys. 

We are now seeing large, successful companies, like Patagonia, Air Canada and Burton list the FSC certification as a requirement for their supply chain partners, proving this label is a preferable factor in partnerships. Patagonia’s environmental responsibility manager, Paul Hendricks, has pointed out that the majority of impacts in its business – environmental and social, for example – are in its supply chain. As a result, the Patagonia team evaluates every potential supplier based on those impacts.

Transparency is a competitive advantage

Industry leaders are seeking partners whose sustainable efforts are verifiable in part because they know their customers demand it. Today’s consumers are savvy, seeking out brands that are actively reducing their environmental footprint – and who can prove it. 

In one study among consumers in the U.S. and U.K., 88% of people wanted brands to help them be more environmentally friendly and ethical in their choices. Another study out of MIT found that many customers value information about a brand’s supply chain

Transparency in this spirit has been a critical part of our environmental stewardship at Rolland for decades. Along with the FSC Chain of Custody certification, we also publish a Life Cycle Assessment to show the environmental, social and health impacts of our recycled products. This is a more in-depth, comprehensive and transparent analysis than any study published by a paper company in North America. We also make our LCA externally available, to hold ourselves accountable and empower our customers to make informed decisions about the paper products they use. Plus, our comprehensive Sustainability Strategy sets public goals related to how we as a company can have a positive, measurable impact on wildlife, people and the planet.

From where you pick up your morning coffee to the paper products you source in your business, it’s possible to make choices that are environmentally sustainable. Making the right ones starts with seeking out the right partners – and demanding proof of their promises.

Source: Rolland