It is estimated that about 20,000 million black-lead and colour pencils for all kinds of writing and drawing requirements are produced all over the world every year from various kinds of wood, ca. 50% of them in China. The European manufacturers produce about 2,000 million a year. In order to be independent of timber suppliers and at the same time to be able to keep up with the continually growing demand, Faber-Castell initiated a pioneering plantation project nearly two decades ago on former grassland with a poor sandy soil; it proved to be a forestry project of unique character in the industry, located in the middle of the Brazilian savannah near Prata (Minas Gerais state), more than 2,500 kilometres away from the Amazon rainforest. It currently covers 10,000 hectares. The pine used for the woodlands is a tropical species called Pinus caribea, which grows quickly, can flourish even in poor conditions, and is easy to replant. Using modern plantation technology and taking full account of the existing soil, water, flora and fauna, the forestry project represents an ecologically perfect closed cycle, regenerating about 20 m³ of timber per hour.
Since 1999 the Faber-Castell plantations have also been certified by the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®): a demanding international standard for “environmentally compatible, socially equitable, and sustainable forestry”. The Chain of Custody (COC) certification guarantees furthermore that the origin of the wood can be traced all the way from harvesting the timber to packaging the pencils.