Water Resources Management

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  • Description of water management risks and discussion of strategies and practices to mitigate those risks

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    Context:

    Considering the forestry area alone, we consider the following risks related to water management at Suzano: the unavailability of water at Suzano’s forestry management units; the lack of wood supply from Suzano’s own and partner forests; social conflicts arising from overlapping water use; and penalties imposed by the certification mechanisms applicable to the company’s activities.

    Rain is, for the most part, the water source used for Suzano’s forestry production. Rainfall events are seasonal in nature, i. e., they tend to reduce in certain months of the year, leading to periods of drought, depending on the local climate regime. These periods of water deficit (June to September, in most areas of Suzano) can be intensified during cyclical weather events (such as el niño, la niña, etc.) or as a result of climate change. During these periods, social conflicts over overlapping water use, for example, tend to increase.

    To deal with these risks in the short term, Suzano developed an analysis model and, based on an extensive hydrological study of the river basins covering its areas, prioritized those that are critical and manageable, based on the balance between supply and demand for water and the vulnerability of local communities. This will allow us to start the implementation of management actions in forests in critical river basins.

    In the medium and long term, Suzano will gradually develop forest management actions until reaching 100% of the forests in critical river basins by 2030; will execute the social management plan to support landowners located in critical river basins; and will monitor and apply climate modeling to prepare for the risks arising from climate change.

    In line with this approach, Suzano assumed the long-term goal of “Increasing water supply in all critical river basins¹” by 2030. By doing this, the company aims to advance and apply local mitigating and/or transforming measures as a prevention to water restriction events, as well as to consolidate itself as a leading player in the application of innovability (innovation + sustainability) in forest base management. To this end, the focus will be on river basins significantly occupied by the company (30% or more), adopting efficient forest management practices that generate the best results to overcome the criticality of these river basins.

    By assuming such an institutional commitment to increase the availability of a resource as sensitive as water in the long term, we have assumed the responsibility not only to look after our critical areas, but also to support our neighbors in areas of water restriction, mitigating the risks of scarcity of this resource.

    The practices envisioned address: incorporate water assumptions in the strategic planning of wood supply, changes in Suzano’s forest management practices in critical river basins, environmental education for soil conservation purposes, among others. Some examples of the expected results of these actions are: increased water availability in critical river basins; mitigation of social conflicts; gains in forest productivity and, consequently, greater sequestration of atmospheric CO2; improved capacity to support river basins and their ecosystem services.

    In order to keep track of this topic, our main indicators that will start to be monitored in 2021 are: “annual execution of operations in the forest” and “% of managed areas (executed/planned).”

    1. Critical river basins are those subject to lack of water availability due to natural characteristics (such as climate and soil type) and land use patterns.