MRO Magazine

3M Releases Revised Paper Policy Providing Leading-Edge Protection for Forests, Endangered Species, and Forest Communities Worldwide

March 5, 2015
By Business Wire News

ST. PAUL, Minn.

Today 3M announced a new pulp and paper sourcing policy designed to ensure all the virgin wood fiber going into 3M’s paper-based products and packaging comes from sources that protect forests and respect human rights.

Recognizing the risks facing forests and continuing its deep commitment to conserve natural resources, 3M’s new industry-leading policy does not allow any wood fiber to be linked to deforestation or illegal operations. The policy also requires protection of high carbon stock forests and high conservation values, like intact forest landscapes, peatlands and the habitat of endangered species.

3M joined forces with The Forest Trust (TFT) and Dovetail Partners to learn more about the threats facing forests in its supply chain, and update this policy.

“The first strategic decision we made in drafting this policy was to focus on defining clearly for our suppliers our own values and requirements related to the protection of forests and vulnerable people,” said Jean Sweeney, vice president, 3M Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability Operations. “We are taking responsibility for making sure our pulp and paper suppliers meet the requirements of the policy, and help them to raise their performance if necessary.”

In addition to the environmental elements of today’s policy, it also sets strong standards related to social concerns, including respect for workers’ rights and indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent to operations on their traditional lands. Under the new policy, all paper-based products and packaging suppliers are required to provide information on the original forest sources of the virgin pulp in 3M’s products, and allow those sources to be assessed against 3M’s policy.

3M’s newly revised policy comes on the heels of a multi-year campaign by ForestEthics challenging the company to strengthen its commitment to protect forests and endangered wildlife, and to support rights of forest-impacted communities. Greenpeace joined the campaign in 2014.

“3M had the vision and the commitment back in the 1970’s to endeavor to address its climate impact, and they did so with great effect. We knew they had the capacity and the smarts to take the same approach with forests,” said Todd Paglia, executive director, ForestEthics. “The policy announced today is industry-leading, and represents exactly the type of innovation that 3M is known for.”

Implementation of the policy throughout 3M’s global operations is a substantial undertaking, involving more than 70 countries and 5,000 pulp and paper suppliers, each with their own manufacturing facilities and supply chains.

To drive change across the industry, 3M will engage with its direct and indirect suppliers, to educate them on the forestry issues addressed in the policy, and support them to set up their own responsible fiber sourcing programs. The hope is that this will have a ripple effect in driving positive change beyond 3M’s fiber supply, leading to widespread market demand for protection of forests and respect for workers’ and indigenous peoples’ rights.

3M not only collaborated with, but became a member of TFT, a non-profit organization with a strong track record in guiding companies on the development and implementation of responsible pulp and paper sourcing and improved forest management across global supply chains. 3M and TFT will work closely together to map 3M’s supply chains back to source and assess them against the 3M policy.

“We are excited to be working with 3M on this important effort to transform the global pulp and paper market to be drivers of forest protection, and to clearly send a message that deforestation is unacceptable,” said Scott Poynton, founder and executive director, The Forest Trust.

The process of mapping the supply chains back to the harvest source and assessing suppliers according to the updated policy is underway. This work builds on 3M’s long-standing legal harvest program and is designed to ensure compliance against international forest product legality regulations such as the U.S. Lacey Act, the European Union Timber Regulation, and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act. 3M’s Legal Harvest program already requires suppliers to report on the genus, species, and country of harvest for all plant-based fiber in 3M products.

As part of its commitment, 3M will publish semiannual updates of its progress on implementing its policy. These updates will be available on the 3M and TFT websites.

3M has already taken action to sever business with suppliers out of compliance with its new standards.

About 3M
3M is a science-based company with a culture of creative collaboration that inspires powerful technologies, making life better. With $32 billion in sales, 3M employs 90,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNewsroom on Twitter.

Donna Fleming Runyon, 651-736-7646
Eddie Scher, 415-815-7027