Mercer Stendal pulp bales stacked in the warehouse at the mill in Arneburg, Germany

Sustainability Does Not Come for Free

Uwe Bentlage | Mercer Pulp Products, VP Pulp Sales & Marketing Europe

In recent years, a variety of sustainability labels have found their way onto paper and pulp products to highlight their environmental performance, recyclability, and the role that paper and board play in the circular economy. 

To meet the market demand for an increasing volume of labelled products, Mercer has committed to an ambitious goal: by 2030, at least 80% of the wood used to manufacture our products will be certified.

But trade, and the industry in particular, reach their limits when it comes to making products with both an FSC certification and their availability in sufficient quantities. This is especially problematic if the raw materials are to come from a regional source. 

There are many reasons for the insufficient provision of FSC wood from German lands for pulp and thus for paper production. At the end of all considerations, it is the complexity of the FSC system, with many rules and requirements, that prevents greater success in Germany. This complex system also prevents the assertion of a great idea: that sustainable management in the forest takes into account the interests of forestry and forest management, social concerns, and environmental interests. 

Keeping the demands of the market in mind, along with protecting our own interests, Mercer has decided to take a much more active role in connecting with and shaping the German FSC.

Since April of this year, Mercer has been represented on the board of the Economic Chamber of FSC Germany. During this time, Mercer has been getting to know all the key players within the chamber and their motivations. The members of the Environmental and Social Chamber in FSC Germany were able to identify justified concerns and worries for the forest, market developments, and possible options for action while keeping these two focuses in mind. 

This representation and established foundation carry further discussions and decision-making processes towards an FSC standard that is oriented towards future issues. From Mercer’s point of view, this standard will bridge the gap between the core concerns of the FSC and its sustainability goals and both the current and future demands placed on forests by the emerging bioeconomy. 

Sustainability and honesty: a vision that doesn’t come for free – but is one worth committing to.