Montreal-based Domtar's commitment to sourcing sustainable harvested timber extends back more than 10 years ago, when it started using the Forestry Stewardship Council's sourcing guidelines. "Everyone is trying to catch up with our reputation," said David Struhs, vice president of sustainability for the company.
Domtar could be the biggest paper company you have never heard of: With approximately $5.6 billion in annual sales and more than 9,100 employees, it produces pulp used in everything from commercial office paper to adult incontinence products.
Struhs argues that U.S. forests are as abundant as they were 100 years ago and it is Domtar's intention to keep them that way. Right now, about 90 percent of its fiber comes from controlled sources, with approximately 20 percent certified to the FSC standard, he said. Its aspirational goal is 100 percent.
One factor complicating that quest is much of its supply chain is made up of family farms controlling 50 to 100 acres. To help those partners invest in sustainable forestry practices, without paying them a premium, Domtar works through Carbon Canopy. The program pays farmers credits for the amount of carbon that their forests help sequester, which helps subsidize their investments, Struhs said.
"We are not doing this to get a letter grade on someone's report card, we are doing this, because it creates shareholder value," he said.