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Enviva updates its responsible sourcing policy

In the United States (US), Enviva Holdings, LP (Enviva) the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, in partnership with Earthworm Foundation (previously The Forest Trust) has released its updated responsible sourcing policy. The revised policy is designed to better incorporate important ecological and social values, and to establish a framework for transparency around implementation.

Bald cypress in a privately conserved wetland in Georgia.

Bald cypress in a privately conserved wetland in Georgia.

Notably, the updated policy strengthens and expands Enviva’s previous High Conservation Value (HCV) protocol to ensure that Enviva is maintaining or enhancing the wide range of HCVs in its sourcing basket. The policy covers Enviva’s operations and sourcing activities in the southern US states it has a presence in, as well as its global purchases of manufactured pellets.

According to a joint statement, Enviva and Earthworm have been working together since 2016; this policy release marks a significant milestone of that work. Through external stakeholder engagement and internal process development and planning, Enviva was able to develop a responsible sourcing policy that speaks to NGO concerns around sensitive HCVs in Enviva’s sourcing region and sets a framework for continuous improvement.

Expanded HCV identification process

As part of the expanded HCV identification process, Enviva will be implementing a protocol in which forest tracts are evaluated and put into one of three categories:

  • those that are suitable for traditional forestry practices;
  • those where extra care may need to be taken in order for Enviva to accept wood from a harvest;
  • areas where Enviva will not accept wood, because harvesting cannot be done without compromising important HCVs

Enviva, NatureServe, and Earthworm are working together to establish a map of these HCV risk areas, and, as part of an annual implementation plan, will be rolling out the accompanying protocol starting in 2020.

This updated policy is the culmination of almost two years of work between Enviva and Earthworm Foundation. We believe that this policy is key as it allows Enviva to set a high standard and create an open space for collaboration with other stakeholders around a common objective of forest health at the landscape level. The use of woody biomass at an industrial scale is challenged by many, but we think it’s not a black and white situation. We believe innovation can create a path that benefits both people and nature. We are excited to begin implementation together, to see how our partnership can bring positive change for the southeastern forests of the United States that Enviva calls home, said Bastien Sachet, CEO of Earthworm Foundation.

In addition to the tract-level standards, Enviva’s updated policy also acknowledges Enviva’s place in the larger forest products industry. It states Enviva’s commitment to address issues and maintain forest health at a landscape scale in collaboration with conservation partners, industry players, and other stakeholders as necessary.

A softwood sawmill in Georgia (GA).

A softwood sawmill in Georgia (GA). The wood pellets industry is part of the wider forest products industry.

Enviva says that it commits to taking part in finding solutions to keep the amount of forestland stable or increasing at a regional scale, as well as to address conversion of wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

We are proud to release our revised responsible sourcing policy today. With Earthworm as a critical partner, we worked to create a durable and ambitious policy that provides a clear and succinct reflection of the value we place on forests and people, as well as our values of integrity, accountability, discipline, and determination. Our revised policy will be a platform for larger-scale collaboration across the community of stakeholders in the landscape and will provide a guiding light for our sourcing and verification activities in the years to come. We look forward to the good work we will continue to do with Earthworm as we move into the implementation stage with our revised policy, said Dr Jennifer Jenkins, Enviva’s Vice President, and Chief Sustainability Officer.

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