Global Forest Products Companies Commit to Support Forest Certification

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 11/04/2013

Leading companies are committed to support forest certification systems such as PEFC to significantly scale up sustainable forest management, according to a 'Leadership Statement on the Value and Future of Forest Certification' released yesterday.

via PEFC - November 5, 2013

Leading companies are committed to support forest certification systems such as PEFC to significantly scale up sustainable forest management, according to a 'Leadership Statement on the Value and Future of Forest Certification' released yesterday.

The statement, issued by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Forest Solutions Group (FSG) at the WBCSD Council Week in Istanbul, recognizes that reducing forest loss and degradation is a global societal priority requiring immediate and concerted action. The FSG consists of 26 companies that are responsible for nearly 40% of annual global forest, paper and packaging sales.

In order to ensure that the supply of independently-verified sustainable wood and other forest products continues to increase to meet growing demand, all 26 FSG member companies commit to:

Work with stakeholders to spread sustainable forest management

Support and promote the expansion of forest certification

Set 2020 targets to increase the use of certification when sourcing forest products and fiber

Grow markets for certified forest products

"With today's statement and commitments, the FSG aims to demonstrate leadership in addressing the world's need for increased sustainable management of natural forests and plantations, as well as wiser use and reuse of forest products," said FSG co-chair Jos, Luciano Penido, Chairman of Brazil-based Fibria, in a press release.

"The statement highlights the value that business derives from forest certification systems such as PEFC in promoting responsible forest management and providing certified material to meet the growing demand for sustainably-sourced wood,"said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC, speaking at the WBCSD Council Week. "Forest certification has become an integral part of the business operations of leading companies, and we are looking forward to working with WBCSD members on concrete action to expand forest certification and grow the markets for certified products."

The WBCSD statement follows a set guidelines published earlier this year by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which brings together more than 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries with combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion. The guidelines aim to support the CGF resolution to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 and recommend PEFC certified products as providing companies with verification for legality, low risk of controversial sources contributing to deforestation and sustainable forest management.

"The support that business leaders are committing to is very much welcome, especially as PEFC is working with an ever wider range of countries to support them in their development of national forest certification systems. The WBCSD's FSG leadership statement demonstrates that the value of the work we are undertaking to especially assist small- and family forest owners, community forestry, and indigenous peoples to implement sustainable forest management practices and benefit from forest certification is recognized," remarked Mr. Gunneberg. "It will now be important to see how these commitments turn into practical action."