The Case Study
Given the degradation suffered by many of the world's ecosystems within the last 50 years and the potentially devastating impact of climate change, it is more important than ever before that we use natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way. Research carried out by a United Nations body estimates that 60% of the earth's ecosystems have suffered degradation, most of which has occurred during the last 50 years, with forests, grasslands and freshwater ecosystems affected most severely. Given the increasing global demand for ecosystem services, Mondi supports the view that a "business as usual" approach will incur great human and financial costs and that it is now time to adopt a new approach: "business in a resource-constrained world". Responsible forestry We have developed policies and practices that reflect an approach we call "responsible forestry" engaging with stakeholders at a local, regional and global level, both in partnership and multi-stakeholder forums, to inform our actions. Thanks to scientific advances and a changed perception regarding corporate responsibilities, sustainable forestry has become both achievable and a goal for many in our industry. We are working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), NGOs and scientific communities in Europe, Russia and South Africa to develop and implement sustainable forest management practices. Our sustainable forests reduce greenhouse gas emissions, capture carbon and provide a range of ecosystem services. We estimate that our plantations in South Africa store approximately 16 million tonnes of carbon (equivalent to 58 million tonnes of CO2). Our collaboration with NGOs and the scientific community is producing positive results. One good example is the effectiveness of plantation-free "buffer zones" in conserving water resources and biodiversity in our South African plantations; another is our involvement as part of a multi-stakeholder initiative in Russia to preserve areas of virgin forest with high conservation environmental and social values. Certification Forest certification remains the cornerstone of our responsible forestry approach and we are committed to attain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for all the land we own, lease or manage. An additional 861,000 hectares of land in Russia was FSC certified during 2008. We have also implemented and audited a transparent, risk-based procurement requirement to ensure the legality and credibility of wood and fibre suppliers that are not certified to FSC, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or other credible standards. High Conservation Value forests Areas of Russia's Komi forest are considered to have High Conservation Value (HCV) due to their ecological or social significance; commercial forestry is either prohibited or restricted because of the land's ecological or social significance. In Russia, these areas usually comprise large parcels of pristine natural forests and their associated intact ecosystems. As resource stewards we are working with a number of stakeholders, including the Russian State Forest Department, WWF and Greenpeace through Silver Taiga, to define HCV areas accurately and develop an effective way of indicating their status. Dialogue with local people who often depend on HCV forest areas for their livelihood is integral to this ongoing process. In South Africa, our joint efforts with NGOs and local authorities have led to the identification of significant HCV areas. In contrast to Russia, HCV areas in South Africa are usually quite small but are often close to, or fragmented by, intensively managed plantation forests and farmland that can threaten vital ecological networks. FSC certification requires the identification and maintenance of HCV areas, which constitute a significant component of all Mondi Ecological Management Plans. As part of our HCV strategy, we also support the HCV Resource Network.