As one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, the pulp and paper industry has an enormous influence on global forests. This sector, which includes products such as office and catalog paper, glossy paper, tissue and paper-based packaging, uses over 40 percent of all industrial wood traded globally. And, the U.S. is still one of the world’s largest paper consumers.
The forest practices associated with some pulp and paper operations have had devastating impacts on some of the world’s most ecologically important places and species. Unsustainable pulp and paper operations have contributed to conversion of high conservation value forests, illegal harvesting, human rights and social conflicts, and irresponsible plantation development. Given the global nature of the pulp and paper sector, paper from these unsustainable sources can reach North American markets.
Responsible pulp and paper operations can bring many benefits to forests, local economies and people, particularly in rural areas. Many pulp and paper companies are demonstrating leadership in responsible forestry and plantation management as well as in clean manufacturing processes and recycled content. And, U.S. consumers can play a key role in driving responsible forestry through their paper choices.