The Power of Many: Domtar's Strategy of Long Term Partnerships

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The Power of Many: Domtar's Strategy of Long Term Partnerships

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"The power of collaboration should not be underestimated": http://bit.ly/NHaKzA. @DomtarPaper on the strengths of longterm partnerships #CSR
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 1:05pm

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Interesting things happen when a determined group of people get together. The power of collaboration should not be underestimated. I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with Lewis Fix, VP Sustainable Business & Brand Management at Domtar Corporation. For Domtar, long-term partnerships with environmental groups are part of everyday business.

Domtar is in the business of fiber-based products. That means trees make the key ingredient for manufactured goods. Instead of what has been a historically contentious relationship with environmental groups, the company has sought to strengthen partnerships. Building trust takes time and a whole lot of effort. Lewis Fix provided me with insights into Domtar's collaborative work for over a decade.

Turning point - From Collaboration to Commitments
Domtar's participation in Ontario's Living Legacy Land Use Plan (widely known as Lands for Life) was pivotal for establishing the company's present day collaborative approach. The multi-stakeholder initiative was tasked with creating an outline for a strategic direction for the management of 39 million hectares of Ontario's Crown lands and waters. The initiative, Fix notes, "opened the company to deeper collaborations. The path forward became very clear."

During the Lands for Life planning process, Domtar observed that NGOs were most interested in Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSC®) certification as a standard for good forest management. For the company, it made sense to pursue further collaborative work. On the Domtar's choice to certify its forests with FSC, Fix explains: "We realized that increasingly, NGOs are going to influence what companies are doing. There's a heightened awareness around the forestry sector, for various environmental and social reasons. A third-party certification such as FSC was well supported by those around the table and became the right choice. It also defined leadership, and a breaking away from industry to pursue certification."

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Meirav Even-Har is a Justmeans staff blogger. She reports on Canadian CSR issues. Meirav is an independent sustainability consultant and writer working in Toronto, Canada.

Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Domtar | Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) | Lands For Life | Rainforest Alliance Network | SmartWood Program | Sustainable Fiber | Sustainable Forestry | Sustainable Paper | WWF-Canada | csr

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