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Tackling deforestation on behalf of our customers

DS Smith’s sustainability targets are focussed on using 100% recycled or chain of custody papers by 2020, providing assurance and support for customers in meeting their zero deforestation goals.

 The significance of forests in our industry

The renewable corrugated paper and packaging system has one of the strongest recycling infrastructures of all materials. In Europe, 88% of paper and cardboard is recycled. However the system still depends on regular inputs of sustainably sourced virgin fibre to retain quality and performance. Forests are essential for the production of paper.

Sustainable management of forestry and the responsible procurement of fibre is therefore key to ensuring responsibly produced timber-based products, whether recycled or virgin. 

When sourced from well-managed forests, harvested timber has vital social, environmental and economic benefits and can be a truly sustainable enterprise. However, in some countries and regions there are still issues with deforestation, illegal logging, irresponsible plantation development, loss of high conservation areas, habitat loss and other environmental or social impacts.

DS Smith Sustainability Goals


Recycled or chain of custody certified papers by 2020

Responding to a changing world

Many of DS Smith’s customers have publically committed to zero deforestation by 2020. A vital part of our offering is to manage this joint risk on their behalf. The company remains committed to supporting initiatives that promote forest management and chain of custody, and ensuring, through traceable and transparent supply chains, that any virgin fibres in our products originate from sustainably managed sources.

As a Group, the company has two sustainability targets aimed at serving customers with zero net deforestation ambitions:

DS Smith Sustainability Goals


of our sites to have a chain of custody certification

  • Use 100% recycled or chain of custody certified papers by 2020
  • 100% of our sites to have a chain of custody certification (FSC®, PEFC or SFI)

Why did we choose this approach?

The chain of custody system requires forests to meet certain sustainable forest management standards and for every link in the supply chain – all manufacturing or trading entities (e.g. paper mills, convertors, suppliers) - to be certified in order to pass on certified papers through the supply chain.

There are several organisations that provide frameworks and certifications for sustainable forestry management, most notably;

  • Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC®), which has a strong reputation globally
  • Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI), which has a strong presence in North America

In 2015, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of relevant manufacturing sites achieving FSC® certification by the end of April 2018. In July we reported in our Sustainability Review 2018 that 95% of relevant sites have achieved FSC® certification.  

Due to our ongoing growth, we have decided to keep this as a formal sustainability target, and since the acquisition of Interstate Resources in 2017, we have extended it to include SFI.

This site certification target is aimed at enabling all our sites to sell certified material, on customer request. However to be a true leader in sustainability we needed to do more than just react to rising customer demand. So in 2018 we announced our new target; to use 100% recycled or chain of custody certified papers by the end of April 2020.

At DS Smith, we are confident that this approach provides assurance and confidence to all our customers that all their material is guaranteed to originate from recycled or sustainable sources. The highly recognised logos can also be printed on the packaging also provides an excellent opportunity for brands to communicate their sustainable sourcing credentials to conscious consumers.