By 2050 we’re likely to need three times more wood than we do today, yet forests are fighting for their lives as the ground they stem from is being sought for alternative uses.
The key to keeping forests standing is to make them viable so they can compete with alternative land uses that require them cleared. Sustainable wood extraction as a forest conservation strategy has long been recognised as one way to achieve this.
That’s why today, a unique collaboration called VIA (Value and Impact Analysis) is being announced - to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber and clarify the role of FSC certification in the delivery of these values. The two-year VIA initiative from three founding business partners Kingfisher, IKEA and Tetra Pak, is supported by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance. The collaborators will support the development of a methodology for assessing the impacts of FSC forest management certification and the piloting of this methodology in selected areas.
In the last two decades The FSC has achieved great things but getting this level of certification to scale has proved difficult. WWF, for example, estimates around two-thirds of the 400 million hectares of production forest in the tropics are operating without a sustainable management plan. So, as the upward trend for more wood continues and pressures to clear forests for alternative use increase - there’s never been a more pressing time to get sustainable forestry management to scale.
To do it though, we need to demonstrate in which ways certification contributes to better management of the world’s forests, so that businesses and consumers understand the value and then create demand for certified timber.
This collated impact data will enable businesses to see the value they add by specifying FSC certified timber and paper through their procurement policies. The initiative is independent from the FSC but is designed to be useful to the organisation, by providing a tool that will show the contribution it makes to the social, environmental and economic values of the world’s forests. The learning from the initiative will also be shared with other sectors beyond forestry that are covered by more than 20 certification schemes who are members of ISEAL.
Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability Director for Kingfisher PLC, launching the collaboration at the FSC’s 20th anniversary General Assembly in Seville, Spain, said:
“Our forests are fighting for their lives. As a human being I care about the environmental and the social impacts that is having but as a retailer I also understand the devastating impacts of supply insecurity. The business community can help reverse the deforestation spiral by getting behind sustainable forestry management so that we can get it to scale. That’s why we’ve formed this collaboration. We believe business can be a force for good in keeping forests standing but to do that they need to understand the value of certification and sustainable forestry management. That’s why there’s a pressing need for this collaboration and the business-ready analysis we’re focused on developing.”
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