We live in a world of increased use of natural resources. As this trend intensifies, renewable resources are at a premium; a fact reflected in the EU and global policies on sustainability in general and forest management in particular.
The 1998 Forestry Strategy for the European Union aimed at establishing a coherent framework of forest-related actions at the EU level. The Strategy complemented and reinforced the Member States' forest policies, and promoted sustainable forest management.
Among other things, the EU Forestry Strategy provided support for certification schemes promoting the use of wood from sustainable managed forests, as well as biodiversity and conservation programmes.
A new EU Forest Strategy was published by the European Commission in September 2013. ACE supports the Commission's emphasis on sustainable forest management to move beyond legality and set the basis for a more equal playing field within the forest-based sector across Europe.Through their global traceability commitment, ACE member companies are paving the way for leading forestry practices and ask the Commission to follow up on its strategy with concrete actions and plans.
An additional measure in this field is the Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), adopted in 2003. Its ultimate goal is facilitation of trade in legal timber and elimination of illegal-timber trading with the EU.
The key regions and countries targeted are Central Africa, Russia, tropical South America and Southeast Asia. The principal objective is to improve governance in timber-producing countries through Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA); assuring that only legally harvested timber enters the EU.
Regulation No 995/2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber products on the market (also known as the EU Timber Regulation) entered into force on 2 December 2010 and became applicable as from 3 March 2013.
This regulation prohibits placing of illegally harvested timber or timber products on the EU market. It obliges companies that place timber and timber products on the EU market to adopt systems of 'due diligence' to ensure that they exclude illegal products. FLEGT or CITES licenced timber products are considered de facto in compliance with the EU Timber Regulation.
Sustainable forestry is a fundamental basis for the beverage carton production. From 1950 forest growth in Europe has risen continuously and growth in the forests from which ACE members source, has exceeded felling.
At present only 75% of the annual wood increment is harvested, meaning a sustained increase in forest resources.
Policies and systems are in place to ensure that this sustainable development will continue. Forest regeneration plans, designed to resemble nature's own dynamic renewal of forest areas, form an integral part of the management measures practiced by Nordic forestry. Each area scheduled for harvesting must have a regeneration plan favouring renewal of natural habitats.
ACE broadly welcomes the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation lying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. ACE´s global voluntary commitment concerning third-party-verified traceability systems for wood fibres used for the manufacturing of beverage cartons is already going beyond the requirements of the new Regulation.