Even before ecology became a global concern, Eucatex was already planting eucalyptus forests to supply its plants with the wood required for its hardboard and panel production and to generate power for its facilities.
The Company’s efforts to balance its forest production with the conservation of natural springs and plant and animal biodiversity has been recognized in Brazil and abroad. FSC® Certification, which Eucatex received in 1996, attests that its planted forests are well managed and achieve high yields with quality and efficiency.
The high yields of Eucatex’s forests are the result of its adoption of the principles of sustainable development and multiple uses. All of this was made possible by regular investments in technology, improvements in genetics and cloning techniques, and proper fertilization and forestry practices that conserve the soil and enhance its fertility.
Eucatex’s forest activities are based on sustainability principles, which are adopted in all phases:
- Selection of genetic material
- Seedling production
- Selection of management and planting units
- Monitoring of pests and disease
- Monitoring of forests’ nutritional requirements
- Transportation of wood to supply its industrial units
- Environmental monitoring
The entire process was designed to maximize yields and adequately use natural resources.
Eucatex forests occupy an area of approximately 46,000 hectares distributed across 77 farms (owned, leased and partnerships), which are located in the Salto, Botucatu and Capão Bonito regions of the state of São Paulo. One third of this area, or approximately 13,000 hectares, consists of natural reserve areas on which two types of vegetation predominate: seasonal semi-deciduous forest and transitional seasonal semi-deciduous forests known as cerrado. Areas planted with eucalyptus supply Eucatex’s mills with over one million cubic meters of wood every year, which is sufficient to ensure the sustainability of the system.
Eucatex’s products are recognized and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international entity that attests, through FSC Certification®, that the products are manufactured responsibly by using wood produced under an economically viable, ecologically correct and socially fair system.
Forest management is the set of techniques employed to ensure the sustainable production of timber that is in harmony with the environment and promotes social justice. The aim is to ensure the adequate use of natural resources so that they are available to future generations.
All natural resources are monitored in all phases of the process. The environmental monitoring of flora, fauna, water, air and waste helps ensure that the forestry activities have the lowest possible impact on the environment. The workplace health and safety program protects the physical integrity and rights of both employees and third-party service providers. The Company also maintains and recovers protected areas to ensure that its properties comply with all environmental regulations.
With a well-structured environmental policy, Eucatex organizes important initiatives to foster respect for nature and humankind’s harmonious coexistence with nature.
The principles that guide Eucatex’s forestry activities and ensure the integrity of the ecosystem include:
- Developing forests in accordance with the principle of sustainable development that mitigate environmental impacts and comply with all environmental regulations;
- Constantly pursuing innovation and excellence in Forestry Technology, working to prevent pollution by adopting new environmental concepts and processes and forging partnerships that contribute to achieving these goals;
- Developing environmental education programs to help protect nature and raise awareness on individual and collective responsibilities concerning the environment;
- Ensuring, through the Environmental Management System, the resources required for enabling the Company to meet its environmental objectives and targets, and creating opportunities for continuous improvement in the environmental performance of its forestry activities; and
- Broadly disclosing the organization’s Environmental Policy to its partners and local communities in order to strengthen and reaffirm its environmental commitment.
The Environmental Policy also covers the mapping of the state of conservation of Eucatex’s natural reserves. This survey indicates the areas to be prioritized in terms of management and preservation, with the purpose of meeting the Company’s demand for wood, while protecting the environment and the native vegetation and wildlife.
Eucatex works hard to preserve and conserve the environment, promote sustainable development and foster social and economic well-being. To achieve these goals, it undertook a commitment to control all its timber sources that are not FSC®-certified by not purchasing timber from sources involved in the following situations:
- Illegally harvested timber.
- Timber harvested on forest areas where civil or traditional rights are violated.
- Timber harvested on forest areas that are not FSC-certified, have high conservation value or are threatened.
- Natural forests that were converted into planted forest or that have non-forestry uses.
- Timber harvested from forests formed by genetically modified (GM) trees.
- Planning for sustainable timber production based on the consumption of the production facilities and the monitoring of forest development;
- Genetic improvement program that selects the material to be produced that will effectively meet Eucatex’s industrial needs in terms of both quantity and quality;
- Producing eucalyptus seedlings to meet the annual forest development program;
- Defining management units for the planting of eucalyptus and for maintaining natural reserve areas based on soil, weather and topographic conditions;
- Monitoring and controlling pests and diseases with a focus on the rational use of pesticides;
- Monitoring the nutritional needs of the forests to optimize resources and adequately apply nutrients (supply and replacement);
- Conserving the properties, maintaining the headquarters, roads and clearings, conserving the soil, and preventing and controlling wildfires; and
- Adopting timber harvest and transport practices that ensure the sustainable supply of Eucatex’s production facilities.
Always on the lookout for actions that can help preserve the environment and especially forests, Eucatex believes that most of the wood waste generated by production processes can be reused without polluting the environment. It is with this in mind that the Company created the Eucatex Recycling Program, in which any company that generates wood waste can participate after an economic and technical feasibility analysis is conducted, based on the quality, volume and location of the waste.
The wood waste can be collected in dumpsters and transported to the Eucatex unit in Salto, São Paulo for processing. Under the standard agreement, Eucatex provides one or more dumpsters, which are placed on the premises of the participating company for the disposal of wood waste. The dumpsters are replaced on a regular basis. The Company also undertakes to properly use all of the materials collected.
The benefits of the Eucatex Recycling Program represent an opportunity for companies seeking an environmentally friendly alternative for the disposal of their wood waste that complies with quality and/or environmental management certifications.
The Eucatex Recycling Program uses wood waste to generate power and has the following objectives:
- Using biomass (a renewable energy source) to generate electricity, a technology that is more economical and has lower environment impacts than burning diesel oil or natural gas;
- Environmental responsibility, by raising awareness among its partners, who no longer have to dispose of their waste in landfills or deserted properties; and
- Social responsibility, by forming partnerships with cooperatives and with the Association of Parents and Friends of Exceptional Children (APAE), which receive benefits in proportion to the volumes collected.
The types of materials that can be recycled include pallets (new, old, whole, broken or with nails), wood pieces (such as spools), wood scrap and construction debris.
The Eucatex Recycling Program aims to prevent tons of wood waste from being disposed of in landfills, preserve 1 million trees every year on its reforestation areas and save 15 million liters of water. All in a simple and practical way that respects nature.
To be a good neighbor to the communities surrounding its facilities, Eucatex develops social initiatives and supports the development of local communities, with a priority placed on assisting NGOs that help children and teens.
One of the main projects developed by Eucatex is the Environmental Education Program, which for more than a decade has already conducted over 680 visits and received over 22,000 visitors. The program targets students at public schools located in the cities neighboring its forests to provide them with information on a variety of environmental topics, such as biodiversity, recycling, forest fires and soil conservation, while raising awareness on the importance of conserving natural resources.
To be able to carry out these actions safely and comfortably and in a way that complies with its environmental policy, in 2000, the Company created a space to host the program’s educational activities called Casa da Natureza (Nature’s Home), which is located on the Santa Terezinha Farm in Bofete, São Paulo. The program has partnerships with the municipal governments of Bofete, Anhembi, Acaré, Salto and Botucatu and serves primarily teachers and students in public schools. Occasionally the program receives students from vocational programs and universities, employees and nature conservancy groups, such as the Boy and Girl Scouts and NGOs.
The program’s objectives include developing and disseminating information on environmental preservation, the importance of properly managing planted forests and helping to train the educators supported by the program to prepare them to work with environmental issues both in and outside school. The Casa da Natureza home was prepared to provide visitors with an overview of the region’s ecosystem, its geographic characteristics, the local fauna and flora, the relevance of eucalyptus as a raw material for various forest-based products and its contribution to creating jobs and income for local communities. Visitors can also tour Eucatex’s Seedling Nursery.
Other activities include interpretative trails that pass through stretches of planted forest and explain the forest management system adopted by the Company, as well as through stretches of natural reserve that are rich in natural springs and biodiversity.
In addition to the Environmental Education Program, the Company also carries out actions to promote the practice of social responsibility, such as food drives for donating to organizations, maintaining an open dialogue with its registered NGOs and making available bee pastures to beekeepers in the regions where its forestry units are located.
Another important issue for Eucatex is its concern with the quality of life of its employees, for which it organizes campaigns and events to raise awareness on diseases, preventive vaccination drives, and lectures on STDs and chemical dependency. As part of the prevention program, it also conducts annual examinations and offers professional guidance.
Contract management is another activity of great importance to the Company. Its efforts on this front aim to minimize labor liabilities, control turnover and monitor the tax situations of its service providers to ensure compliance with labor rights.
The Company’s efforts to ensure the high quality of all its products and services and adopt sustainable development practices are recognized by important certifications.
In addition to being the first company in the industry to receive ISO 9001:2000 certification, Eucatex also holds ISO 14001 and FSC® certification, which attests that its forests are managed in accordance with rigorous environmental, social and economic standards.
FSC® Certification – Chain of Custody
The FSC® Chain of Custody certification enables that tracking of forest-based products from the forest to the end consumer and also guarantees to consumers that the product was manufactured using raw materials from certified forests or controlled origins in accordance with FSC® standards.
Created to control solid waste and prevent pollution and ensure responsible coexistence between companies and the environment, ISO 14001 represents global recognition that Eucatex complies with rigorous environmental protection standards.
With ISO 14001 certification, Eucatex further expanded its commitment to the conservation of biodiversity. The first step was formulating the Company’s Environmental Policy. The second step was the ongoing investments made in initiatives to mitigate environmental impacts, optimize the use of chemical fertilizers, reduce the use of pesticides, recover vegetation in forest remnants, promote environmental awareness at neighboring units and establish indicators to verify biodiversity conservation.
Satisfying consumers’ needs through continuous improvements in products and services. That is the quality policy of Eucatex, which is always working to meet the needs of its clients.
As a result of this policy, Eucatex was the first company in the industry in Brazil to receive ISO 9001:2008 certification. Certification by the ISO 9000 series represents concrete proof that the Company’s quality control system complies with internationally recognized standards.