Memphis, Tenn.-based Evergreen Packaging said it is the recipient of the American Forest & Paper Association’s (AF&PA) 2020 Leadership in Sustainability Award for Sustainable Forest Management for its submission, “Family Forests— The Key to Certified Success.” Awards were presented at the AF&PA’s Presidents Forum online event.

“Our winning project demonstrates Evergreen’s commitment to responsible forestry,” said John Rooney, president of Evergreen Packaging. “By partnering with the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance and the American Forest Foundation, we’ve been able to help family forest landowners overcome obstacles to gain forestry certification. [This] helps us obtain more certified fiber to meet market demand and also helps to ensure healthy forests for years to come.”

Evergreen Packaging said family forests are key to sustainable forestry, and the company is focused on helping family forest landowners increase access to forest certification programs.

“’Protecting our Planet’s Resources’ is one of our sustainability pillars, and central to that commitment is the protection of our forests and sustainable forest management,” explained Derric Brown, sustainability director for Evergreen Packaging. “In addition, one of our paths for promoting sustainable forestry is engaging in strategic partnerships.”

As a founding member of the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance (AWA), Evergreen Packaging said it has been instrumental in helping develop the Smallholder Access Program, a two-year Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) pilot program targeted to southern and central Appalachia woodland owners under 250 acres. The AWA, including Evergreen Packaging as a participant, is the recipient of the 2020 FSC Leadership Award in the Uncommon Partnership category.

In 2019, Evergreen Packaging also committed significant funding to the American Forest Foundation to support the development of a landscape management plan for the state of South Carolina. This plan encompasses a high-level holistic approach to forest management, incorporating regional priorities such as wildlife habitat, species biodiversity and clean water supplies, Evergreen Packaging said. 

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. Engaging small landowners in responsible forest management is essential to healthy communities and the sustainability of our forests,” said Brown. “Evergreen believes that sustainably managed forests benefit the environment, are crucial to our industry, and the goals of our company and our customers.”

Evergreen Packaging said paper and paperboard produced from certified wood can be found in a variety of its products, including PlantCarton packaging, cupstock, ovenable trays and a variety of paper specialty products found in millions of homes throughout the world.