In 2016, we began implementing the Supplier Code of Conduct (SCOC) to systematically engage with our raw material suppliers. This includes the purchase of wood, fibers, chemicals and energy. The Supplier Code of Conduct requires that suppliers meet basic sustainability criteria, such as human rights, legal compliance, responsible business, and environmental performance. It also ensures that we have the right to audit operations for compliance and, in case of non-compliance, demand corrective action. As part of the Supplier Code of Conduct, Ahlstrom-Munksjö will continue to integrate sustainability into its auditing process.
The Supplier Code of Conduct is an opportunity to build long-term relationships and cooperation with suppliers. The aim is to purchase from like-minded companies and to be prepared to help our suppliers reach their goals.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s wood and pulp sourcing practices are designed to promote sustainable forest management. Wood and wood-based pulps are Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s most important raw materials and, as a large purchaser, we are able to secure significant volumes of certified wood based materials, thereby contributing to responsible forest management practices. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is also an active participant with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®).
Following its own commitments, and in response to customer demand and market trends, Ahlstrom-Munksjö is seeking to increase its share of FSC® certified wood and pulp. Over 80% of wood-based production units have FSC Chain of Custody Certification. Currently, all wood and pulp must at least meet the FSC Controlled Wood standard, which requires that the wood meets the following criteria:
- No illegally harvested wood
- No wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
- No wood harvested in forests in which high conservation values are threatened by management activities
- No wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
- No wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Due Diligence System assesses the legality of the pulp used in products and ensures availability of information regarding the country of origin of wood fibers and tree species used. The system is set up to ensure compliance with EU Timber Regulation, the U.S. Lacey Act and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act.
Other Key Fiber
Abaca fiber has exceptional length and resistance, and can withstand infusion in hot water, making it ideal for tea bags. Ahlstrom-Munksjö regularly visits suppliers’ farms in the Philippines and Ecuador. In Ecuador, we have helped local farmers to develop their operations and we have had a positive impact on the local community. In 2013, we supported an industry-wide project coordinated by EDANA to advance the sustainability certification of abaca in the Philippines according to the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standard.
Cotton linters lend a unique feel, bulk and strength to Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s fine arts papers. We have been working with our suppliers, NGOs and other stakeholders to help improve the sustainability of our cotton supply chain. We aim to secure cotton linters from sustainable sources, such as the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
The strength and stiffness of flax fiber give it value and potential as a component in light-weight composite products. It’s lighter and less abrasive than glass, and provides good thermal and sound insulation. Flax plants, which are typically grown in France, do not require much fertilizer, pesticide or irrigation.
Sisal fibers come from agave plants, which are grown by small farmers in East Africa. Sisal can survive long periods of drought and the waste can be used as a natural fertilizer. Sisal fibers are used in specialty nonwoven products. All of our sisal comes from Kenya, where it is grown on long-established farms, often on marginal land. The Kenya Sisal Board has confirmed that all our suppliers have an annual tree planting policy, and provide social services, as well as employment, to rural communities.
Like potatoes, corn has supplied the starches required in papermaking for generations. It now has a new role as the raw material for the new biopolymers used to make Poly-Lactic Acid fibers. Ahlstrom-Munksjö sources its corn-based raw materials for PLA solely from the U.S., where the main supplier employs independent third parties to evaluate the environmental impact of their operations. As the sugars for PLA can be fermented from any cellulose-based material, we are looking at feedstock diversification for PLA.
Chemicals and binders
Ahlstrom-Munksjö buys a wide variety of chemicals, from starch, latex and pigments, to wet-strength agents and clays. For example, titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a critical component of decor papers as it is used to create opacity. Ahlstrom-Munksjö continuously works to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of chemicals that are in accordance with REACH guidelines.