Mondi South Africa is at the forefront of sustainable business practices. Viv McMenamin, CEO Mondi South Africa, explains: “It’s exciting to be playing a lead role in Mondi’s sustainability story. There are so many areas we are proud of but three stand out for me.
“From the work we are doing to reduce our water impact, to managing water catchment areas and wetlands through our work with partners, to using significantly less water in our operations. Second is the progress we have made in becoming a diverse and inclusive workplace, where people can grow to their full potential and contribute to our success. And then of course our globally competitive operations that produce high-quality, fully-recyclable products from sustainably sourced fibre.”
The sustainable management of our forestry operations is key in managing our overall environmental impact, helping to protect ecosystems, and developing resilient landscapes.
Wood is one of the primary raw materials and our staff work hard to provide the best assurance for our stakeholders that the wood and fibre we use comes from responsible sources. Plantation forests in South Africa are managed in a way that secures their long-term biological integrity, social value and productivity.
Maintaining FSC™ certification of forests is also an important part of our management approach. It assures compliance with globally recognised standards for sustainable forest management.
Water as a constrained resource
Given the critical importance of water to business, to local communities and to other stakeholders, we strive to manage water use wisely and efficiently – especially in water-stressed regions. We are committed to reducing the specific contact water consumption of our pulp and paper mills by 5% by 2020, against a 2015 baseline.
Drought conditions in South Africa remain a concern and we continue to look for opportunities to improve water security in the areas where we operate. The focus is on reducing water consumption, in particular at the Richards Bay mill.
WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Programme
Mondi promotes a landscape approach to freshwater stewardship. The focus of the long-standing WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Programme (previously the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme) has grown from managing and rehabilitating wetlands with different groups of land-users (including Mondi) to catalysing water stewardship at the landscape scale, including ensuring collaboration and action by different land-users in the uMngeni and Mvoti River catchments, both of which are strategically important water-supply areas for KZN’s economic hubs.
In 2014, following many years of collaboration, Mondi Group and WWF launched a global partnership to promote responsible forestry and a sustainable pulp and packaging sector.
In 2017, this global partnership was extended for another three years and the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme was renamed the WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Partnership, reflecting its broadening focus on catchment-based water stewardship. Water stewardship assessments were conducted for the Richards Bay mill and plantations in South Africa.
This was measured against the international Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard, a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts. The outcomes are now being used to investigate meaningful, cost-effective improvements to management systems to meet the core requirements and to advance some of the requirements.
In 2018, Mondi joined the WWF Climate Saver’s Programme, WWF’s global platform to engage businesses and industries on climate and energy.
Biodiversity and ecosystems
Responsible forest management involves increasing the long-term productivity and preserving eco-system values in rural landscapes and protecting high conservation value areas such as wetlands.
Degradation of ecosystems and loss of habitats and species has a significant negative effect on the ecosystems that both communities and business rely on. We are committed to protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in our forestry operations.
Maintaining an effective network of high-conservation value areas and valuable habitats, and on imitating natural dynamics for key types of ecosystems where possible, is another focus.
The investment to expand our product range by producing unbleached kraftliner in addition to white-top kraftliner at the Richards Bay mill has been welcomed by customers. Baywhite, Baycel and Baykraft products are certified for food packaging (ISEGA) and Mondi has adopted Good Manufacturing Practice (externally certified).