In today’s world, it is necessary to adjust production and consumption to standards guaranteeing future generations with natural resources, energy sources, a balanced climate and food, among other necessities essential to survival.
This is the basis for the concept of sustainable development, posed to the world in the report “Our Common Future”, published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Today, sustainability is among the top priorities in the agendas and strategic plans of large pulp and paper companies. The concept rests on a tripod formed by economic, environmental and social aspects, i.e., respectively, the obtainment of profit, conservation of natural resources, and development of the human capital. The alignment between financial results, environmental conservation and the population’s well-being is a condition for the success, development and continuity of the very business.
Since paper utilizes raw materials from planted forests – in addition to being renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, among other attributes –, its life cycle has deep connections with nature. And paper can also have different effects on nature, if it is not produced and finally disposed of in a sustainable manner.
The pulp and paper industry makes investments to achieve sustainability throughout the production cycle by improving processes and adopting good social and environmental practices. These are some of the actions already taken: diversifying the economic utilization of planted forests and involving small producers through forest partnership programs in order to create employment and income generation opportunities, modernizing working relationships and expanding knowledge through exchange of experiences, including the promotion of other activities such as the cultivation of food crops.
By using 100 % of raw materials from planted forests – renewable natural resources that absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere – and also by recycling a large portion of the paper that is discarded after consumption, the pulp and paper industry has, in later years, advanced towards a prominent position in sustainable production. And it has a great potential for new achievements.
Forest management practices are based on the principle that goods and services must be sustainable, biological diversity must be conserved, and social and economic impacts must be positive.
By seeking to have a clean production cycle, pulp and paper companies also come closer to energy self-sufficiency. Moreover, there is increasing utilization of energy from renewable sources such as biomass. The goal is to achieve increasingly positive environmental results, in which the industry stands out for its contribution to the balance of the global climate.