The folding-carton business of Norcross, Ga.-headquartered paper products group Rock-Tenn Company has become the largest North American-based manufacturer of folding cartons to have earned the Fiber Sourcing Certification of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Inc. program—designating the division as a leading example of environmentally sustainable and progressive management of natural resources.
“The SFI fiber sourcing certification is an important step that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices and development of sustainable solutions,” says Michael Kiepura, executive vice-president and general manager of the Rock-Tenn Folding Carton Division, which completed the certification process for all of its 24 manufacturing facilities in early May.
The certification permits the company—which recycles an estimated two million tonnes of wastepaper annually—the use of the SFI Certified Sourcing label in the marketing and distribution of its products, including solid bleached sulfate (SBS), 100-percent recycled paperboard and virgin paperboard.
“Both consumers and marketers are increasingly interested in raw material sources as well as in the conversion and distribution processes,” Kiepura notes. “We have already received numerous inquiries from customers regarding usage of our SFI Certified Sourcing label.
“As consumers become more aware of the SFI label’s significance in promoting responsibly managed forests, consumer product manufacturers, quick-serve restaurants and others will want this label linked with their brands,” Kiepura expands.
Originally conceived in 1994 as a voluntary code-of-conduct for the U.S. forest products industry, the SFI program has grown enormously in prestige and industry acceptance in the last few years—evolving into one of the world’s largest sustainable forestry management certification programs.
Administered by the Arlington, Va.-based non-profit group SFI, Inc., the program now includes 219 participants in the U.S. and Canada—accounting for an estimated 127 million acres of woodlands that have been certified to the SFI standard by third-party auditors.
The program requires participants to promote responsible forestry by encouraging land-owners to reforest areas that have been harvested, to use best management practices for protecting water quality, to identify and protect wildlife—including helping to preserve endangered species—and to provide support for impacted communities.