REimagine Paper - February 2018

February 15, 2018

Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products
Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material. As young trees grow they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a wood product, paper also continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime. 

The paper industry has a number of respected certification schemes ensuring the paper you use has come from a sustainable forest source. The two most recognisable certifications are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).


FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) provides global standards for forest management which cover a balance of environmental, social and economic aspects. The wellbeing of forest communities and ecosystems is as important as replacing trees in ensuring the future of the world’s forests. The FSC® system also provides a way of tracking forest products through independently verified Chain of Custody certification. This has to cover every stage in processing, conversion, distribution and printing before the final product can carry the FSC® label.


Forests play an important role in mitigating climate change by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Europe’s forests store almost 80 billion tonnes of carbon in their biomass. The stock of carbon in forest biomass has increased by around 3 billion tonnes since 1990. This means that forests absorb around 7% of the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the region.

EEA, The European Environment - State and Outlook, 2015

PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. PEFC™ provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

Sustainability Facts. 

  • Paper is made from wood, a truly renewable and sustainable resource

  • Forest certification ensures wood comes from well managed forests

  • Responsible wood, pulp and paper production ensures healthy growing forests

  • Between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland1

  • In 2013, 74.7% of pulp delivered to paper and board mills in Europe was forest management certified by independent forest certification schemes, up from 71.1% in 20102

  • The potential supply of certified forest products increased by about 30% between 2007 and 20133

1FAO, 2015. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, How are the World's Forests Changing?
2CEPI Sustainability Report, 2013
3UNECE, 2015. Forests in the ECE Region

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