Forests, water, and climate: How Mondi partners to make a difference

clock • 4 min read
Credit: Mondi
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Credit: Mondi

Packaging and paper giant reveals how it is working with others to help drive environmental improvements across its value chain

In the words of Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations, "Climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, addressing the climate challenge presents an opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all."

We are all aware that climate change is a real threat, and in order for it to be tackled effectively we need to work together as businesses, governments, NGOs and individuals. At Mondi, sustainability is at the heart of what we do, creating packaging and paper that is sustainable by design. We make this a reality through our own innovations and by partnering with like-minded organisations across the value chain.

We have a responsibility in ensuring forests are protected and managed sustainably

One example is the role we play in maintaining healthy forests, which are critical to regulating the carbon balance on our planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), approximately 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the world's forests every year. This is approximately the equivalent of the current CO2 emissions of India.

Mondi has been working with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) since 2017, exploring the outlook of climate change and impact on Europe's forests and wood supply. We have a responsibility in ensuring forests are protected and managed sustainably and we are firmly committed to zero deforestation and no illegal logging.

At Mondi, our Working Forest model acknowledges that forests take many forms around the world - from high-yield plantation forests in the south to vast lower-yield boreal forests in the north. We manage around 2.3 million hectares of natural forestry landholdings in Russia and 254,000 hectares of plantation forestry landholdings in South Africa. We apply a risk-based approach through our Due Diligence Management System to ensure we source responsibly across our entire supply chain, with more than 90% of our wood sourced domestically from the countries where our mills are located.

Tools such as the WWF Water Risk Filter, ensure that we minimise risks

In addition to our work to ensure that we are able to source fibre from healthy and resilient forests, we also recognise the impact of climate change on water resources. Droughts, floods, melting glaciers, sea-level rise and storms occur more frequently owing to changing climate.

While we at Mondi are dependent on water for our manufacturing processes, there are many other users who also need access. Our membership of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) supports our efforts to implement good water stewardship in our operations and beyond, adopting, promoting and contributing to a universal framework for the responsible use of water.

With the support of the AWS and WWF, we developed a Group water stewardship standard that is designed to set out how our mills will use operational and catchment-based context to determine appropriate levels of water stewardship responses.  Our approach has always had landscape and catchment level management at its core.  Additional standards and practises, along with tools such as the WWF Water Risk Filter, ensure that we minimise risks to our operations and reduce pressure on this globally shared resource.

Mondi is aware of its responsibility towards the environment and the communities in which we operate, especially as the two main resources we utilise for our products are water and wood. We actively work towards safeguarding biodiversity by protecting water resources as well as forestry in our operations and beyond. The strategic partners and our work with IUFRO and AWS are just two examples of the importance of collaboration that can make tangible differences in the fight against climate change in these key areas.

Our commitments focus on areas where we can drive real change

We are encouraged to keep working on sustainable solutions and are proud to have engaged in these strategic partnerships that are in line with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 17 to revitalise global partnerships for sustainable development. We are proud to have secured a place on CDP's ‘Triple A List' in 2020 for our ongoing efforts in tackling climate change as well as acting to protect forests and water security.

Earlier this year, we launched our 10 year Mondi Action Plan 2030, MAP2030, designed to tackle global sustainability issues across the value chain in aligment with UN Sustainable Development goals. Our commitments focus on three key action areas where we can make the most impact and drive real change towards a more sustainable future: circular-driven packaging and paper solutions, created by empowered people, taking action on climate. In addition our science-based targets were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative in 2019;  and in 2020 we reduced our total Greenhouse Gas emissions by 24 per cent against a 2014 baseline. We continue to make  good progress as we support the global transition to a low-carbon economy.  We believe that working collectively is a driver for change and it's only by working together that we can protect our planet.  

Gladys Naylor is Group Head of Sustainable Development at Mondi

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