In April 2018 TFT’s Alastair Herd and Björn Roberts together with Hanna Jager, Nestlé’s Responsible Sourcing Lead for Pulp and Paper, visited northern Sweden.
The question of how to balance commercial forestry with the protection of biodiversity and of indigenous Sami reindeer herders’ rights has become increasingly contentious and polarised. Greenpeace recently highlighted the problems in their report “Wiping Away the Boreal” and there seems little prospect that they will be resolved soon in Sweden’s FSC forum.
We met representatives of Swedish forest industry, ‘Svenska Samernas Riksförbund’ (an organisation representing Sami communities), environmental NGOs and ecologists, a senior university scientist researching forest growth, and the national Environmental Protection Agency. And, we clumped through deep snow to observe some of the ecological/production protection measures and trade-offs first hand.
By the end of the week we had gained a deeper appreciation of the key issues, and of stakeholders’ differing perspectives. We had also discussed with each of them Nestle’s and TFT’s intention to continue to take an active interest, and to look for ways to contribute towards a positive outcome. This was an initial dive into the issues. Further supplier engagements and visits are planned in the near future to determine Nestlé’s role and engagement with suppliers sourcing from the region in line with their Responsible Sourcing Guidelines for Pulp and Paper.
TFT is also actively involved in supporting healthier forest outcomes in Boreal regions of Canada and north west Russia. Much attention has, rightly, been paid to pulp plantation in tropical regions. Now interest is rapidly growing in the uncertain future of the boreal forest. It spans the globe’s upper latitudes from Alaska to Eastern Russia, and as the world’s largest land biome, plays a critical role in the planet’s biodiversity and climate. But the boreal forest, and its communities like the Sami, face growing pressures brought by intensive harvesting, forest fragmentation and climate change. Pulp and Paper companies in Canada, the Nordic countries and Russia source fibre from these very slow-growing forests and must face the challenges of maintaining production while protecting ‘Intact Forest Landscapes’ and other High Conservation Values (HCV), as well as the rights of indigenous people and other forest communities.