Suominen is stepping up the sustainability of nonwovens used in wipes, hygiene products and medical applications. According to our own consumer research, there is an increasing interest in responsible products wherein nonwovens are used, e.g., biodegradable wipes. One of our answers to this demand is to offer nonwovens made of renewable, FSC and PEFC certified raw materials.
Pulp-based materials – viscose, fluff pulp and paper pulp, to be exact – constitute a major share of what we use when we make our products. In 2015, pulp-based materials accounted for 46% of Suominen’s raw materials. Not all of it is certified but the share of certified raw materials is on the rise.
“We are seeing growth in customer interest in certified raw materials as their customers, retailers and consumers, are ever more sustainability-conscious,” says Mariann Forsström, Sales Director, Suominen.
Suominen is able to produce nonwovens that consist purely of renewable, certified raw materials and we have a strong desire to make more sustainable products. Naturally, all depends on whether the customer wants certified raw materials to be used or not.
Probably the best-known certifications that apply to wood-derived materials, such as viscose, fluff pulp and paper pulp, are FSC and PEFC.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. FSC members include some of the world’s leading environmental non-governmental organizations, such as WWF and Greenpeace, businesses and social organizations.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international nonprofit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. With more than 275 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC is the world's largest forest certification system.
In short, both organizations exist to make sure that environment and human rights are respected.
At the time of writing, five out of eight Suominen production plants held either one or both of the certifications. Suominen is striving to have all its production plants certified.
As said, consumer demand of responsible end-products is the most important driver for certified raw materials. Certification labels on end-product packages make consumers’ life easier since the labels clearly indicate that attention has been paid to the responsibility of the product throughout its journey from forest to store shelf. The labels also make consumers feel more involved and supportive of protecting the environment. However, one should not make hasty judgements only based on labels:
A product with no certification labels on its package may well be responsibly made of sustainable raw materials.
At the end of the day, brands and manufacturers who prefer their products to be made of certified raw materials have an upper hand in the market where sustainability is a trend. Suominen is prepared to do its part in enabling responsible choices for consumers. This stems from Suominen’s purpose, to make nonwovens continuously better for people.