The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How PCA protects biodiversity

PCA is one of the leading suppliers of packaging and paper products in North America, serving 17,000 customers in approximately 35,000 locations. PCA has worked for decades with many types of landowners, especially family and small-scale landowners, providing them with long-term sustainable forest management applications and education, as sustainably managed North American working-forests are essential to PCA’s long-term success  Tweet This!.

This case study is based on the 2019 Responsibility Report by PCA published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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PCA’s responsibility and commitment to protecting biodiversity is demonstrated by ensuring its fiber sourcing programme and practices fully conform to rigorous forestry, fiber sourcing, and chain of custody standards. In order to protect biodiversity PCA took action to:

  • support research and partner in conservation efforts
  • conduct environmental impact assessments
  • implement Best Management Practices

What are the material issues the company has identified?            

In its 2019 Responsibility Report PCA identified a range of material issues, such as economic performance, climate change, occupational health and safety, labour relations. Among these, protecting biodiversity stands out as a key material issue for PCA.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups PCA engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Employees ·      Your Opinion Counts
Customers ·      Customer ConneXions

 How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics PCA surveyed over 100 employees and conducted research on 45 of its largest customers.

What actions were taken by PCA to protect biodiversity?

In its 2019 Responsibility Report PCA reports that it took the following actions for protecting biodiversity:

  • Supporting research and partnering in conservation efforts
  • PCA partners with The Forest Resource Association, The Nature Conservancy, Forest Stewards Guild, Longleaf Alliance, Keeping Forests, American Forest Foundation, and National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) to accomplish research and support conservation objectives. PCA also conducts annual training with staff on the latest research, conservation priorities and company policies and procedures to broaden the practice of sustainable forest management, and reduce both direct and indirect negative impacts on biodiversity.
  • Conducting environmental impact assessments
  • Utilising NatureServe and state Natural Heritage websites, PCA checks for threatened or endangered species and ecosystem conservation priorities in combination with on the ground inspections prior to harvest activity. This enables PCA to ensure biodiversity constraints are identified and have an effective plan of action in-place before, during and after forest management activity. PCA fully complies with the US Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, and provincial timber regulations. PCA is also in full conformance with the European Union Timber Regulations (EUTR).
  • Implementing Best Management Practices
  • The forest certification programmes PCA adheres to support the protection of biodiversity through voluntary and compulsory measures. For example, the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) standard requires a trained Master Logger or Qualified Logging Professional (QLP) on-site during harvest activities and wood suppliers must remain up-to-date on continuing education requirements, including biodiversity protection. In 2019, 99.2% wood sourced directly from forestlands was delivered by QLPs. PCA promotes and financially supports training programmes for logging professionals as part of its commitment to sustainable forestry standards and is dedicated to applying all mandatory and voluntary state Best Management Practices (BMPs) during harvest activity to protect a site’s biodiversity and preserve the quality of water and soil within the landscape.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 304-1 Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas

2) Disclosure 304-2 Significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity

3) Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored

4) Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations

 

Disclosure 304-1 Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas corresponds to:

Disclosure 304-2 Significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity corresponds to:

Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored corresponds to:

Disclosure 304-4 IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by PCA, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to PCA: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.