Case Study - Forest
Credibility through third party certification
One of Smurfit Kappa’s key focus areas is to assure customers that the fibres used in our packaging solutions come from sustainable sources. Currently, the most credible way to do this is to participate in Forest
Management and related Chain of Custody certification. We take third-party certification very seriously, and examine it closely.
Control Union Certifications is one of the auditing bodies certifying Smurfit Kappa’s Chain of Custody management systems. James Schadenberg, Program Manager of their global network of certification experts and auditors, explains what the role of a third party verifier entails: ‘Our task is to be an independent party that inspects and verifies whether an organisation complies with a certification standard. We are not part of the scheme owner, nor the certified organisation. Our role is to be impartial, and to adhere to the specific requirements of the standard.’
Through independent third party audits, sufficient assurance is given to safeguard a level playing field for all organisations pursuing certification. In simple terms, third party involvement eliminates the possibility of corruption in a system, and functions as quality assurance to all stakeholders. Smurfit Kappa has been working with Control Union since launching its forest certification programme in 2008. This includes certifying Smurfit Kappa’s operations to FSC and PEFC standards in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain.
‘The results of our periodic audits have shown good development through the years’, says Schadenberg. ‘Smurfit Kappa stands out in their technical understanding of their standards, and in their corresponding internal progress. The company has been quick to adapt its systems to changes in the standards, facilitated by a solid-functioning management system. Smurfit Kappa always tries to be ahead of developments.’
To illustrate the latest advancements, Smurfit Kappa has developed an internal audit tool, which helps to follow up on audits alongside its sites. This new tool will benefit the third party auditor as well. ‘This is a great way to promote good practices throughout a company, show the commitment to your own targets and, as in this case, promote sustainable forest management in general’, concludes Schadenberg.