3M announced a new pulp and paper sourcing policy designed to ensure all the virgin wood fiber going into its paper-based products and packaging comes from sources that protect forests and respect human rights. 3M’s Legal Harvest program already requires suppliers to report on the genus, species, and country of harvest for all plant-based fiber in 3M products.
Recognizing the risks facing forests and continuing its deep commitment to conserve natural resources, 3M’s new industry-leading policy does not allow any wood fiber to be linked to deforestation or illegal operations. The policy also requires protection of high carbon stock forests and high conservation values, like intact forest landscapes, peatlands and the habitat of endangered species.
“The first strategic decision we made in drafting this policy was to focus on defining clearly for our suppliers our own values and requirements related to the protection of forests and vulnerable people,” said Jean Sweeney, vice president, 3M Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability Operations. “We are taking responsibility for making sure our pulp and paper suppliers meet the requirements of the policy, and help them to raise their performance if necessary.”
The new policy also sets strong standards related to social concerns, including respect for workers’ rights and indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent to operations on their traditional lands. Under the new policy, all paper-based products and packaging suppliers are required to provide information on the original forest sources of the virgin pulp in 3M’s products, and allow those sources to be assessed against 3M’s policy.
3M’s newly revised policy follows a multi-year campaign by ForestEthics challenging the company to strengthen its commitment to protect forests and endangered wildlife, and to support rights of forest-impacted communities. Greenpeace joined the campaign in 2014. 3M partnered with The Forest Trust (TFT) and Dovetail Partners to update its policy.
Implementation of the policy throughout 3M’s global operations will involve more than 70 countries and 5,000 pulp and paper suppliers, each with their own manufacturing facilities and supply chains. 3M says will engage with its direct and indirect suppliers, to educate them on the forestry issues addressed in the policy, and support them to set up their own responsible fiber sourcing programs. The company said it has already taken action to sever business with suppliers that are out of compliance with its new standards.