Glatfelter has been operating a non-wood pulp mill in the Philippines for over 20 years now and is concentrating its specialist knowledge in its Fiber Competence Center. Our wholly owned subsidiary, NEWTECH PULP, INC. (NPI), Balo-I, in the Philippines, was founded in 1990. Today, it is the world’s largest commercial abaca pulp producer. NPI’s pulp grades are in full conformity with German regulations on food and consumer goods law.
Abaca Fiber, also known as Manila hemp, is indigenous to the Philippine Islands. The farmers carry out the fiber extraction directly on the growing plots, leaving the residue in the field as a natural fertilizer. Glatfelter encourages and assists farmers to plant abaca and improve the fiber stripping by supplying technical know-how, planting material and purchasing the fibers. Abaca contributes to the prevention of soil erosion, can assist greenhouse-gas mitigation and is environmentally friendly with little or no impact.
At the core of Glatfelter’s vision is the imperative for sustainable growth. One of the corresponding activities is the promotion of a suitable certification protocol for abaca. For the first time in this industry, a company is directly coordinating the certification work with the Rainforest Alliance. Glatfelter’s CASI (Catanduanes Abaca Sustainability Initiative) was the first abaca group of farmers ever certified for sustainable farm practices according to the standards of SAN (Sustainable Agriculture Networks), together with the Rainforest Alliance. As a result, standards are being set for future sustainability with this unique natural fiber. In addition, the company has started a parallel livelihood program, Glatfelter LEAH (Livelihood Enhancement through Abaca Handicrafts), in the area of manufacturing handicrafts such as bags and other products from abaca fibers, as an additional source of income for the participating farmer’s wives. Glatfelter’s initiatives are special examples of the ways Glatfelter goes Beyond Paper®.