According to Lidl’s “Position Paper for the Purchase of Cellulose” (Positionspapier für den Zellulose-Einkauf) published in July 2018, they intend to switch to FSC-certified virgin fiber materials for all food packaging in Germany by the end of 2018. For non-food items, including textiles packaging, garden and camping products, furniture, and stationary, Lidl wants to switch to FSC by 2020. Lidl is currently active in about 30 countries and generates global sales of about 70 billion Euros.

Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd each published a wood purchasing policy (Holz-Einkaufspolitik) at the beginning of 2018, which favours the procurement of FSC-certified products under certain circumstances. For example, Aldi Nord requires FSC if the products come from “high-risk” countries. Edeka had previously announced plans to switch to Blue Angel-verified materials for recycled wood, paper and tissue, and to FSC for virgin fiber. This objective was achieved by the end of 2017 for their private label packaging.

By taking these steps, these retailers are joining other German end-user retailers such as the Otto group or IKEA, who have for some time demanded FSC-certified materials for their products, catalogues or internally used paper. In this way they have championed more sustainable purchasing of wood-based fibers. The most important characteristics of a sustainable procurement policy for wood and paper are: reducing the volume of materials used, increasing the use of secondary raw materials, i.e. using recycled material, and for virgin materials using materials from responsibly managed forests (FSC-certified).

The increasingly ambitious procurement policies of retailers and brand owners are one of the most effective ways to curb the overuse of forests and landscapes harvested for wood and paper use.