Portucel manages around 120,000 hectares of forest, but it depends heavily on buying wood from other forest owners who grow eucalyptus. Most of these growers operate on a very small scale: Portugal has around 400,000 forest owners, 85 per cent of them owning less than three hectares.
Sustainable forest management is a key concern for Portucel. However, securing supplies of certified wood from small forest owners has been a challenge. Many see the forest certification process as complex and costly. The company decided to take action to improve forest management and build certified supply.
In 2006 Portucel began paying a price premium to all suppliers of FSC-certified wood. For smallholders managing fragmented and dispersed areas of forest, this can make all the difference: it covers the costs of certification and provides a tangible financial benefit.