Fibre Sourcing & Availability

Whilst we prioritise the use of recycled fibres through our circular business model, a small amount of virgin fibres are required. However, to deliver truly sustainable value, whilst we consume virgin fibre today we must also protect the resources that our business will need tomorrow.

When sourced from well-managed forests, harvested timber has vital social, environmental and economic benefits and can be a truly sustainable enterprise. However, we recognise that in some countries and regions there are issues with deforestation and illegal logging. Therefore we believe that supporting responsible and sustainable forestry is a matter of strategic importance for our industry.

Our work on sustainable fibre sourcing splits into two key areas, with targets:

  • Supporting initiatives that promote forest management and chain of custody, and gaining certification across our operations
    • 100% of our sites to have a chain of custody certification (FSC®, PEFC or SFI).
    • Ensuring, through traceable and transparent supply chains,that any virgin fibres in our products originate from sustainably managed sources.
      • Use 100 per cent recycled or chain of custody certified papers by 2020.


As part of the acquisition of Interstate Resources, we now own 18,000 acres of timberland in southeast Georgia and one kraftliner mill in Riceboro, Georgia. This is the first time that DS Smith has had direct ownership of operations involved in virgin fibre production.

Owning timberland provides new opportunities to enhance our strategic position in the packaging market and improve fibre security, with 100 per cent of the virgin timber used at this mill derives from certified sustainable sources. However, it also comes with some sustainability risks and work is ongoing to integrate our North American operations into our sustainability reporting in 2019.

Material efficiency

As an industrial manufacturer, we rely on raw materials to make our products. In a resource-constrained world, our business prospects and our corporate image will be jeopardised if we do not consume, convert and recycle these resources efficiently, innovatively and responsibly throughout the life cycle of our products. Our Recycling division manages over five million tonnes of recyclable materials per annum, which provides the core feedstock for our network of paper mills and closes the loop on our circular business model.

Waste is a resource at DS Smith and improving resource efficiency in our operations is at the core of our manufacturing processes. It reduces our carbon and environmental footprint and brings cost benefit to us and the packaging supply cycle. Material reduction is not only an efficiency gain, it also reduces transport demands and brings fuel and logistics cost savings across the supply cycle. We believe that by continuing to share operational best practice across the Group, we will continue to achieve our vision of best-in-class performance in terms of both our financial results and our environmental record.

We have an excellent track record of increasing material efficiency and reducing energy consumption. We have adapted established continuous improvement tools, such as six sigma and lean to drive a culture of efficiency and economy in all our operations, and this approach has enabled us to reduce our reliance on raw materials and to reduce energy and water consumption per tonne of production, thus reducing our carbon and environmental footprint.