Promoting sustainable paper with City Forest initiative in China

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China is currently the largest paper and paperboard consumer in the world. A wide collaboration is needed to promote the use of sustainable tissue and copy papers in the Chinese offices.

“Copy paper and tissue paper are some of the most used paper products, but companies have not yet widely adopted sustainable paper in China,” explains Ma Lichao from FSC China.

City Forest initiative is driving the change. In addition to UPM, organisations such as Kimberly-Clark, one of the world’s largest tissue paper producers, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are together promoting the use of sustainable papers in China.

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The FSC has been expanding its partnership with Chinese businesses since 2019, awarding the “City Forest” certificate to office buildings that uses FSC-certified tissue paper. So far, 34 business buildings in seven major Chinese cities have participated in the program.

Encouraging companies to reach higher environmental goals

“Through promoting the paper products certified by the FSC’s sustainable forest management scheme, we want to inform businesses and people that a better choice for the environment is always available.”

“We hope to see more companies integrate social and environmental values into their company mission. This way we can together bring positive results, achieve lively habitats for a multitude of wildlife and nourish prospering local communities,” says Lichao. 

The FSC is supported in these goals by corporate partners like UPM and Kimberly-Clark.

As a copy paper and packaging material provider, UPM has been rapidly expanding its business in China since 1998, and Kimberly-Clark is one of the leading tissue paper brands in the country. Both are strongly committed to sustainability goals and sustainable forestry and have been sourcing wood from FSC-certified sustainably managed forests. The City Forest project is a way for the companies to combine their expertise to reach a wide range of audiences, from enterprises to end consumers.

Kimberly-Clark and UPM see eye-to-eye on sustainability, especially in responsible sourcing of forest industry products.

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The City Forest event in Shanghai at China’s tallest building raised awareness about sustainable forest management and how collaboration between NGOs and industry can expand the use of sustainable paper products in office buildings across China.

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The Shanghai event has the potential to raise awareness about sustainable paper products more broadly, according to a Judy Zhu, Senior Marketing Manager from Kimberly-Clark.

“Lots of companies have their Asian headquarters in China, and Shanghai is the economic center of China. By launching this initiative in Shanghai, we can create a model that we can leverage in other cities in the Chinese market and can influence countries throughout Asia,” she says.

“Kimberly-Clark and UPM see eye-to-eye on sustainability, especially in responsible sourcing of forest industry products,” notes Jue Wang, senior environmental specialist at UPM Specialty Papers. “As a joint force, we are able to influence a larger group of people and make a greater impact.”

A way to connect with nature in cities

Following more than a decade of rapid economic growth, Chinese society is now experiencing a shift from prioritising economic development to pursuing higher quality of life, especially for citizens living in big cities. Lichao believes that the City Forest initiative appeals to this evolution, in which people are increasingly interested in the environment and sustainability.

“The City Forest project provides a way for people living in cities to connect with nature,” echoes Wang. “In cities, people live and work in tall cement buildings, having little chance to visit nature. Using sustainable paper gives them a sense that they are helping to protect forests.”

Judy Zhu from Kimberly-Clark adds that the initiative enhances individuals and companies to  contribute to a greener future through the choices they make.

“The building owners who adopt this program, are showing their tenants that they are taking responsibility for sustainability,” Judy Zhu says. “For building tenants, the program is a way to educate them about how we as individuals can contribute to sustainability through the choices we make in our daily lives.”


Source: UPM