Sustainable Forests Policy

Sustainable Forests Policy

WHSmith is a leading global travel retailer for news, books and convenience. We operate in 30 countries through more than 1,000 retail units in airports, railway stations, hospitals, motorway service stations. WHSmith sells convenience foods, travel accessories, books, stationery, magazines, newspapers, entertainment products, confectionery and health and beauty items. We are committed to using responsibly-sourced raw materials, and to minimising the environmental and social impacts from any of our products that our sourced from forestry products.

Rising demand for commodities such as paper, pulp and palm oil has driven vast areas of forest clearance. Eliminating deforestation and the conversion of natural ecosystems and promoting sustainable plantation management practices are important for preventing climate change, preserving biodiversity and providing critical sources of income for local communities. We rely on timber for many of our products, including our stationery, books and news and magazine ranges. Our customers want assurance that any of our products containing paper, pulp, timber or palm oil are sustainably sourced from known, legal, well-managed and certified sources, or are made from recycled materials.

This policy applies to all of our own-brand products sourced by companies operating in Australia and globally under the WH Smith PLC group structure including our joint venture businesses, and those sourced by WHSmith franchises. It also applies to goods not for resale (GNFR), such as office paper, marketing collateral and timber products used in furniture, building and refurbishment programmes. The policy is owned by our Group Chief Executive, and its day-to-day implementation is the responsibility of our sourcing and procurement teams. This policy is part of our wider sustainable business programme.

WHSmith is committed to achieving zero deforestation and all paper, pulp, board, wood and palm oil in our products must be from recycled or sustainable certified sources. We encourage the use of paper, pulp and wood from secondary sources which have been reclaimed, reused or recycled.  In particular, none of our products or GNFR should contain:

  • Forest materials that have been illegally harvested or traded;
  • Materials from High Conservation Value Area Forests, Primary Forests or High Carbon Stock forests;
  • Materials arising from inappropriate clearance or conversion of natural forests or peatlands to plantations;
  • Materials from species which are protected by the Convention on International Trade in

Endangered Species (CITES) (see,or those appearing as Critically

Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) red list (; or

  • Paper bleached with elemental chlorine.

We want to ensure that human rights and livelihoods are upheld for those indigenous people and communities local to the places of origin of raw materials. We are committed to the adoption of Free, Prior and Informed Consent principles and that any complaints or conflicts should be resolved through open, transparent and consultative processes. Further information on our grievance and remedy processes can be found in our Human Rights Policy.

Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 (Cth) prevents the trade in illegal logging of timber and ensure a legal obligation on anyone who first places forestry products on the Australian market to ensure they know the source of those materials. Our aim is always to exceed legislative requirements in our purchasing practices, but as a minimum we expect all suppliers to comply with the international and national regulations.

WHSmith supports the use of third-party certification to show sustainable production and transparent trade. Certification seeks to provide evidence of legality and sustainability and many schemes have been set up around the world. We believe that any credible certification scheme should:

  • Be independent and recognised by environmental groups;
  • Be able to trace materials from source through to consumer products; and
  • Provide a simple logo that is recognised worldwide. 

The schemes that we consider to best meet these requirements are those provided by the Forestry

Stewardship Council (FSC) and where this is not available, locally by the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme (RWCS), which is endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of

Forest Certification, for paper, pulp and timber-based products; and that provided by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil for palm oil products. Suppliers are required to provide certification from one of these schemes for any raw materials that have been derived from timber or from palm oil.

A significant proportion of our paper and wood-based products are already certified, but for a small proportion of product lines, this has not yet been possible. As a minimum we expect our suppliers to know where forest material used in their products comes from and to be able to provide evidence that it has been legally harvested.

To implement this policy we will: 

  • Communicate this policy and associated aims to our suppliers of products containing paper, pulp, board, wood or palm oil and to other interested parties; 
  • Work with suppliers to ensure that all forest material has been legally harvested and as much of it as possible is certified by FSC or RWCS;
  • Work with other sectors such as the publishing industry and food industry to develop and support national and international initiatives to tackle deforestation.
  • Integrate our requirements into the purchasing decisions of our business functions.

Approved by the WH Smith PLC Board: March 2022