The forest holdings managed by the Portucel Soporcel group are spread between 161 Portuguese municipalities, occupying a total area of 120 thousand hectares, of which 73% is given over to eucalyptus, and are certified by the FSC« (FSC C010852) and by the PEFC (PEFC/13-23-001). Certification offers the market an assurance that the Company's forests are managed responsibly and to strict and internationally recognized standards. This assurance is also extended to the end product, in the eyes of the consumer, as the Group markets a series of paper products also certified by the FSC (FSC C008924) and by the PEFC (PEFC/13-32-001).
Forest certification is a major achievement for the Portucel Soporcel group, which has been actively pursuing this goal since 2005 in close cooperation with international organizations. The Company has been involved in the certification movement since the outset, and was one of the original backers of FSC Portugal and of PEFC Portugal, responsible for drafting the Portuguese standards for forest certification.
By certifying its woodlands under the PEFC system, the Group obtained the first Portuguese license to use the PEFC brand for forestry management. This certification covers the Company's entire woodland holdings, comprising not only the eucalyptus timber grown to supply the Group's pulp and paper mills, but also pine timber, cork and pine cones. The Group's FSC certification covers its eucalyptus timber and cork.
The Group's collaboration with several NGOs, including WWF International, has revealed that a significant portion of its certified woodlands qualify as Areas of High Conservation Value at the landscape scale, making them an environmental and cultural treasure which the company will make every effort to protect. In addition to conserving wildlife, this approach also integrates social issues and the quality of life of local communities.
The Group has been a driving force behind the expansion of the forest certification process in Portugal, through cooperation agreements signed with forestry producer organizations and awareness raising campaigns aimed at landowners. The Group has been a pioneer at global level in paying a premium on purchases of certified timber, prompting a reference to Portugal in the "Forest Products 2007/2008" report from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).
Another important development has been the Group's involvement in the New Generation Plantations project, coordinated by the WWF, contributing with two case studies to a publication of worldwide interest in the field of forestry plantations.
The process of certifying the woodlands of the Portucel Soporcel group has been conducted by the Soil Association/Woodmark, which issued certificate no. SA-FM/COC-001785.