March 3, 2021 / All Stories, Featured, Mercer Forestry Services, Products, Sustainability Sustainability. Honest. Mercer. Uwe Bentlage | Mercer Pulp Products, VP Pulp Sales & Marketing Europe A steadily growing number of environmental labels adorn products of all kinds. Paper products, too. This development underscores consumers’ growing desire to purchase goods that are ecological, sustainable, and socially responsible. But is the choice of a certified product sufficient to satisfy desires for circularity and re-use, energy efficiency, CO2 sequestration and substantially sustainable forestry? Equally relevant is the question of whether the desired goals can be achieved by opting for a particular label. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not possible for the consumer to find out in detail what a label stands for and what effect it has on the value chain. In the worst case, the consumer is misled by a label and greenwashing. Honest and Transparent Sustainability Mercer International, as one of the leading global producers of pulp and a partner to paper manufacturers, contributes to an honest and transparent sustainability statement through our actions. We focus on sourcing our most important raw material – wood – as regionally as possible. This local sourcing approach also supports the local forestry industry and, thanks to short transport routes, is environmentally friendly and conserves resources. Wherever possible, we take regional aspects into account and avoid long transport routes. Production processes designed to reduce consumption are just as much a part of the strategy as the transportation and marketing of Mercer products. It is our goal at Mercer to research and invest in processes that enhance our ability to incorporate full wood utilization. Sustainable Forest Management and Wood Procurement Certifications In the context of wood procurement, Mercer already welcomes and makes use of recognized forestry certifications such as SFI, PEFC, and/or FSC. The labels of these certification systems are familiar to many consumers from their appearance. Less well known, however, is the effort required to obtain these certifications. An effort that underscores Mercer’s sustainable actions beyond the legal requirements. However, many consumers are not aware of the possible disadvantages, such as long transport routes, that preference for a particular label can lead to. Does it make sense from a sustainability and carbon footprint point of view to ship pulp around the world just to be able to display a certain label on the end product? Sustainably sourced – can you tell the label? Understanding Certifications The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is the preferred seal of the North American forestry industry, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification dominates the wood origin of South American pulps, whereas the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) prevails in Central Europe. As part of our sustainability strategy, Mercer has committed to using at least 80% certified wood by 2030. This goal is accompanied by a close dialogue with certificate owners and the forestry industry on how to increase the percentage of forest land that is certified. This with the aim of being able to purchase even more certified wood under regional aspects. It is the responsibility and task of all parties involved in a supply chain to inform the end consumer about the regionally varying availability of certain certificates. This is the only way to turn a conscious purchasing decision into a decision for a lower carbon footprint with a sustainable effect. This is the only way to ensure that the label delivers what it promises the consumer: honest sustainability. At Mercer, we are Sustainable. By Design.