International Paper's Approach to Sustainable Forest Management
International Paper purchases approximately 52 million tons of virgin wood, approximately four million tons of fiber fuel and approximately five million tons of recovered fiber annually for our manufacturing. We recognize we need to leverage a broad range of tools to ensure responsible sourcing as we deliver on our Vision 2030 fiber sourcing target.
ForSite™ Mapping and Monitoring
To guide our responsible fiber procurement on uncertified forestlands, International Paper built ForSite™, a proprietary GIS-based mapping and due diligence system. The unique technology lets us assess a tract of forestland prior to harvest to identify ecological attributes — such as rare or endangered species, priority forest types, or areas of significant biodiversity or landscape connectivity. Armed with this information, we can better ensure that we maintain or enhance the forests where we are sourcing fiber.
Using ForSite™ technology, we have identified more than 23 million acres where we can apply due diligence prior to harvest to ensure that the fiber we purchase A Better IP Strategy Forests Operations Solutions People Index is sourced responsibly and our actions make a positive impact on nature. Since 2020, we have made on-theground improvements to over 25,000 acres of forestland. For example, our South Carolina fiber purchasing team worked with IP fiber suppliers to create wildlife corridors — five-mile lengths of unharvested forest that connect larger forest areas together — to maintain the ecosystems that are home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey and numerous species of birds, reptiles and amphibians. Our fiber team in Rome, Georgia improved a planned harvest area to include non-harvest buffers for the protection of granite outcrops, where rare plant species are known to thrive. Since the inception of ForSite™, we have also declined to purchase fiber where we felt the sourcing risk was either too high, or could not be properly mitigated.
In 2021, we continued to expand the application of our mapping system to advance transparency, due diligence and field verification in our fiber sourcing:
- Transparent Sourcing: All uncertified roundwood we received was mapped to the forest of origin using ForSite™
- Due diligence was performed on 987 purchases that were identified as being at risk of non-compliance with our Global Fiber Procurement policy
- Over 400 second-party verification field visits occurred on tracts to document active sustainable forest management being implemented by the landowner
In addition to the due diligence being performed and documented through ForSite™, which builds on a commitment to halt nature loss and transparently report results, we commit to evaluating and reporting on Nature Positive solutions in the coming years.
How Does ForSite™ work?
ForSite™ uses GIS technology in conjunction with risk-based due-diligence procedures enabling our fiber buyers to make informed decisions on individual forest tracts. Our spatial data includes an array of environmental attributes including:
- Rare, threatened and endangered species
- Priority forest types and landscapes
- Soil types, topography and hydrology