Tuesday, 31 January 2017 08:59

Highest environmental rating for more harvesting operations

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The trend that Södra is taking more consideration for the environmental impact of regeneration harvesting is continuing. This was revealed by the company’s Green Balance Sheet for 2016. The approval rate for regeneration harvest sites has increased from 72 to 95 percent since 2010. Meanwhile, the quality of consideration on the approved sites has also improved.

“The higher rating for our environmental considerations is continuing,” said Henrik Holmberg, acting ecologist at Södra. “Södra has been working systematically with nature conservation for 20 years, by training our forestry professionals and the harvesting contractors who work for us, for example, and we are now seeing the results in the form of greater consideration for the environmental impact of our regeneration harvests.”

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One aspect measured in Södra’s Green Balance Sheet is impacts on soil and water. Södra has been working actively to reduce the soil and water damage caused by regeneration harvests since 2013, when Södra introduced a soil protection guarantee. The aim of the guarantee is to clarify responsibilities, and to entitle everyone involved in the harvesting operation to take proactive steps to prevent any damage from occurring. Should damage arise, despite these preventive measures, Södra will be responsible for rectification. The soil protection guarantee is highly appreciated by Södra’s members and contractors. The results in the Green Balance Sheet also indicate a highly positive trend.

“From a 75-percent approval rate for the impact on soil and water in regeneration harvest sites in 2010, we now live up to the requirements in almost every case,” said Henrik Holmberg.

Södra also introduced a soil protection guarantee for thinning operations during the year. Training was held for forestry professionals and harvesting contractors, and all thinning contracts awarded in autumn are also subject to the guarantee’s requirements.

“We hope to see the results of these measures in the 2017 Green Balance Sheet,” said Henrik Holmberg.

Södra prepares a Green Balance Sheet every year. Internal auditors verify how more than 150 regeneration harvests and the same number of thinning operations have complied with the requirements of the PEFC™ and FSC® forest certification schemes regarding general considerations in final harvesting and thinning operations, and how closely the company has followed its own policies and procedures for environmental considerations. The aim of the Green Balance Sheet is to create a basis for the continuous improvement of environmental considerations. External audits are also performed every year by the international certification body, DNV GL.

Södra was founded in 1938 and is the largest forest-owner association in Sweden, with a membership of more than 50,000 forest owners. We engage in modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra is leading the way for the next generation of forestry.

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