The growing concerns about environment, health and work security, quality of goods and acquired services have determined that the Paper industry, besides improving performance, must show this improvements to the public in general, whether are or not final consumers, in an objective and transparent manner.
Through auditing by independent entities, certification plays this role and makes clear to the public in general (not only direct clients) that the acceptable standards are being followed, which includes, at least, the applicable legislation.
Since 1999, emerged the first paper industry units in Portugal certified by ISO 14.001, right after being implemented the“environmental management system”. Then, in 2001, the first certificate EMAS was issued, concerning a “Communitarian system of Eco management and audit”.
In 2010, 84% of national paper production was produced in units certified by ISO 14.001 and 16% in units certified by EMAS. This way, it was possible to guarantee a controlled environmental performance, treating the main impacts and subject to a policy of continuous improvement. (For more information about certification or environmental impacts please see Statistic Bulletin 2011 – Chapter 7 – Environmental indicators).
Sustainable Forest Management Certification
In July 2005, 244 millions of hectares in certified forest areas were accounted, which means about 6,2% of the world’s total area of certified forest and an increase of about 56 millions of hectares, comparatively to November 2004. This way, the growing trend registered in the last few years remains, although the difference between the certified forest area registered from developed and non-developed countries is still increasing. In Europe 48% of the forest area is certified, comparatively to 27% in North America and 0,9& in Russia.
In July 2005, according to CEPI, the certified forest area in the northern hemisphere represented 91% of the certified world’s total, with 57% located in North America and 34% in Europe.
The Evolution of the World’s Forest Certification
The certification of Forest Management is one voluntary tool that allows the improvement of the quality of forest management and shows its responsible performance, taking into account the economic, social and environmental aspects. This concern covers also the natural resources, those with whom the forest interact, as well as the populations who depend on it. It has received an international status since the Interministerial Conference for the protection of Europe Forest, in Helsinki (1991) and the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development, in 1992, Rio de Janeiro.
The PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) is, nowadays, the system with the largest area of certified forest, 231 millions of hectares, placed mainly in North America and Europe. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) represents, approximately, 143 millions of hectares of certified forest distributed by different world regions.
Certification of Sustainable Forest Management in Portugal
The CELPA associated companies as responsible wood manufacturers, acknowledge the great importance of the sustainable management of Portuguese forest resources and are, since late 90’s, actively involved in the establishment of the sustainable forest management requirements, in the implementation of forest certification schemes and in the communication of wood as a raw material of excellence.
Celpa is one of the founder members of the Portuguese Forestry Sector Council, the entity responsible for the creation of the Portuguese Standard 4406, “Sustainable Forest Management Systems – Application of Standards and Indicators “. This body was also responsible for the development of the “Code of Good Practices for Forestry Management”, as an implementation support of NP4406.
In 2004, it was performed the conformity revision of the Certification System for Sustainable Forest Management (PEFC Portugal) with criteria for the mutual recognition of PEFC Council systems. In December of the same year, the system was formally recognized, being, since that time, available to be used by the Portuguese forest producers.
In the middle of 2006, WWF has assumed the responsibility to implement the FSC National Initiative, a commitment made public in a national forum on December 6th of 2006. Over 2007 it has coordinated the technical meetings for the FSC principles and Criteria adaptation to the Portuguese socio-economic and ecological context and followed the formal constitution of the environmental association which will represent the FSC activities in Portugal.
By the end of 2010, the management of 199,8 thousand hectares, belonging to CELPAs associate companies, was certified by the PEFC system and 202,6 thousand hectares by FSC System, which corresponds to 97,3% and to 98,6% of the associate total area, respectively.
These areas also correspond to 97% of the total area where the management is certified by PEFC in Portugal as 76% by FSC, respectively.
The certification of the Responsibility Chain applies to industries or agents that manufacture, process and/or sell forest products.
Source: PEFC Council (30/04/2011) and FSC (16/05/2011)