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Illegal logging, which involves the unlawful harvesting, transporting, purchasing and selling of timber, continues to threaten some of the world's most valuable forests including the Amazon. It also severely impacts biodiversity and increases carbon emissions.
According to Interpol, illegal logging still accounts for 15-30% of all wood traded globally, with the trade estimated to be worth in the region of $30-$100bn per year. It is an enormous issue; according to estimates from the World Bank, 80% of all timber exports from Peru stem from illegal logging.
Improved forest law enforcement and increasing regulation of the wood trade is helping reduce illegal logging practices. The level of enforcement differs worldwide, however, resulting in a lack of consensus regarding timber trade practices.
Growing demand for wood from a number of industries, including the paper-packaging market, places considerable pressure on worldwide resources. Traceability in the supply chain is very important but it is also not straightforward; it not only requires awareness of the wood's origin, but also tracing its complete journey throughout the supply chain. This is can be tricky in the paper industry as some paper products are manufactured in pulp mills, which may use wood from a variety of sources.
There is a progressive interest in sustainable procurement of wood and paper-based goods. Increasing consumer awareness and stricter regulations are placing pressure on companies to eliminate illegal logging from their supply chains.
Sustainable procurement strategies can help reduce deforestation and illegal logging while encouraging sustainable forestry and paper production initiatives. The procurement function needs to ensure suppliers can account for the origins of their wood supplies and commit to sustainability objectives.
Suppliers with a high degree of vertical integration can make supply chain traceability easier to achieve, as many will own or operate their own pulp and paper-production facilities.
Technology and data also enable procurement to trace and verify the origin of raw materials used within the paper packaging market, ultimately increasing the overall transparency of the supply chain.
To establish supply chain traceability, procurement needs to engage and work collaboratively with their paper packaging suppliers; utilise technology and data, and conduct regular supplier audits to verify adherence to certified standards and commodity chain sustainability. As a result, sustainability goals will increasingly become a key part of supplier relationship management.
Procurement Leaders members can find the latest paper packaging category report here.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders' content team.