Washington, D.C. – The American Forest Foundation (AFF) has announced that International Paper, one of the world’s leading producers of fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper, has joined AFF and its partner, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in supporting the newly-created Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP) to enhance carbon sequestration on family-owned forestland across the U.S.

Families own 290 million acres of America’s forests, more than the federal government or the forest industry. For many landowners, cost is a barrier to sustainably managing their forestland. The FFCP incorporates family forest owners in the global effort to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by incentivizing individual and family forest owners to adopt forest management practices that improve forest health and increase carbon sequestration.

The FFCP represents a new approach to climate change mitigation that taps into the carbon storage potential of family-owned forestland while creating a new market and source of income for the families that dedicate time and effort to their forest management. Beyond creating a carbon market for family landowners and improving family forest management, the FFCP also improves overall forest health, fire resilience and water quality.

“We are so grateful that International Paper recognizes the importance of engaging family forest landowners in climate solutions. Their leadership in providing the support to execute this program is crucial,” said Nathan Truitt, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at AFF. “International Paper has long been a tremendous partner for sustainable forestry and this investment will mean we can do even more to keep forests healthy and maximize their carbon potential.”

“International Paper is committed to environmental stewardship and we applaud this innovative approach that engages family forest owners in sustainable forest management for carbon and climate benefits,” said Sophie Beckham, Chief Sustainability Officer at International Paper. “Our entire business depends on the sustainability of forests, and we are proud to support the Family Forest Carbon Program to ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for generations to come.”

International Paper recently announced their Vision 2030 sustainability goals, which demonstrate their commitment to building a better future for people, the planet and the company. In keeping with the company’s ongoing commitments to sustain forests and to improve the planet, the company’s goals include improving their climate impact and leading forest stewardship efforts globally. International Paper’s support of the FFCP is one way the company will leverage new and existing collaborations to make its desired impacts over the decade.

Recent research, published by The Nature Conservancy and 21 other institutions in Science Advances, demonstrates that nature-based solutions, like the FFCP, can help absorb one-fifth of the carbon pollution produced in the United States—30 percent more than previously estimated. This is equivalent to the emissions from every U.S. passenger vehicle. Carbon pollution reductions are needed globally by 2030 to keep global temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius. Support of the Family Forest Carbon Program will help accelerate the impact of nature-based solutions.