Knowing where our wood comes is critical when it comes to creating bioproducts for a more sustainable and ethical world. The Mercer Wood and Fibre Procurement Policy provides the principles that ensure responsible sourcing. We maintain third-party chain of custody certification to ensure all wood comes from sustainably managed forests and the majority of our purchased wood comes from one or a combination of four broad sources:
We also purchase wood from traders who are able to verify their sources and from countries or entities with strong reputations and ethical business practices. In addition to purchased wood, we also utilize wood from our own tenures. We do this in accordance with local regulations, statutes, and best practices in forestry and a high measure of utilization.
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Our professional foresters practice industry-leading forestry management. Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) directs sustainable, responsible forest harvests from a coarse filter perspective. This management approach emulates the natural processes and conditions responsible for generating the boreal as it existed in a natural state. It is based on theories like the Natural Range of Variation (NRV), a concept that explains how a natural state includes naturally occurring disturbances. “Managing to natural” provides conditions that create habitat for all boreal species.
Research like the Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) project informs forest managers of the essential role disturbances play in the health of the boreal. This research work by the University of Alberta, supported by Mercer and others, validates the concepts of EBM and NRV.
High-value species will require a detailed plan to ensure habitat protection, with specific habitat requirements, and is managed and measured. By preserving the conditions relevant to an ecosystem, our use of Natural Range of Variation provides a system enabled to be naturally resilient.
Our wood supply is certified by third parties as ecologically and environmentally sound. We rely upon harvests sourced from jurisdictions that maintain some of the highest forest management standards in the world, including Germany and Canada. Because our mills operate in countries with some of the highest forest management standards, we are accustomed to striving for excellence in every aspect of our operations.
Our efforts have been recognized by various governing bodies, with certifications from the following respective institutions:
ISO is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards. Mercer’s pulp facilities have been recognized as best-in-practice by earning the ISO 9001 certificate for Quality Management and the ISO 14001 certificate for Environmental Management. In addition, our Rosenthal and Stendal pulp mills, along with our Friesau sawmill, have been recognized with the ISO 50001 certification for Energy Management.
The PEFC™ is the world’s largest forest certification system. The sustainability of Mercer’s wood supply is important for our continued environmental and economic success. All four of our pulp mills and our sawmill purchase certified wood under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™), which encompasses the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification.
The FSC® is an international certification and labelling system dedicated to promoting responsible forest management. Chain-of-custody certifications track wood through the entire supply chain and provide the assurances that all of Mercer’s fibre purchases meet the principles of FSC® Controlled Wood, as well as internal procurement policies.
EcoLogo is a certification system that verifies sustainable, low impact renewable electrical power generation. The power generated at our Celgar mill in BC, Canada, is independently certified as “renewable low-impact” under the EcoLogo® Program’s 2010 CCD-003 Renewable Low-Impact Electricity Products standard, which recognizes environmentally preferable products.
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We have an important role in the sustainability of the land and its use in all areas in which we live and work. In some jurisdictions, we have direct and regulated responsibilities for the health of the land base, while in others we play a smaller, consultative role with our wood supply partners. We manage or support the management of the forest cover in a way that maintains biodiversity and ecological integrity. This is why we work with the science of forest management practices that lead to reforestation (silviculture) success; and our planning and timber harvesting operations utilize methods to minimize negative impacts from roads, timber harvesting, and forest management activities.
In many cases, we coordinate and integrate planning with other resource operators, Indigenous communities, and affected stakeholders to ensure detailed planning of harvest areas address the protection of Indigenous values, reforestation, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, watercourse protection, integration with other land uses, understory protection, structure retention, road development and reclamation, and visual quality.
While the ownership of the land base may be different in Canada than Germany, the standard for protection of all of the elements of the forest is the same. In addition to the fundamental watercourse and species habitat protection standards we adopt, one of the more visually obvious practices that we employ consistently in our planning is the retention of landscapes to replicate impacts on the forest that would have occurred naturally over time: ecosystem-based management emulating natural disturbances (EMEND), as directed by the University of Alberta and supporting associations.
To see a harvest area planned by our Alberta foresters is to see an area with varying levels of retention, unusually shaped corridors, and buffers for important features; all designed to leave the impression that an area was impacted by wildfire or naturally occurring insect infestation.
We are deeply vested in sustainable forest management. We maintain our own fleet of light footprint harvesting equipment and, more importantly, the skilled technicians to operate them. We have gained experience and the trust of private landowners and state forest managers over many years to manage the forests with an eye on ecosystem protection and sustainability. Our wood supply in Germany is sourced from sustainably managed forests through working relationships and the understanding of responsible forestry.
In Canada, we have developed partnerships with local businesses, including Indigenous communities. These partnerships allow us access to an expanded field of local knowledge about the ecosystems as well as provides our partners with opportunities for economic and career growth for their communities.