Helping Protect Forests Worldwide

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 12/31/2012

The best hope for the long-term survival of this diverse resource is responsible forest management, responsible timber production and responsible consumption.

November 27 2012

by Linda Walker, Avon

Tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans coexist in one place on Earth: the extraordinary tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, two islands that are part of the Southeast Asian nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. Home to some of the world’s most striking wildlife, these two islands nourish over 15,000 plant species, and in the last 20 years alone over 400 plant and animal species were identified. Many are unique to Borneo and Sumatra, and some are critically endangered. While this stunning habitat represents only 3% of the global forest cover, the region is responsible for over 30% of the world's total carbon emissions that arise from deforestation and land degradation.

More than 70% of Sumatra’s original rainforests have been lost, largely due to clearing by pulp and paper companies. When these dense forests are cleared, carbon dioxide is released from forests and deep peat lands, contributing to climate change.

Sourcing responsibly

The best hope for the long-term survival of this diverse resource is responsible forest management, responsible timber production and responsible consumption. At 80 million tons, North America annually consumes the largest amount of paper. The US is one of the largest importers of wood and paper in the world, importing nearly $20 billion worth of forest products in 2011. Some comes from Indonesia.

Responsible sourcing by US market and industry leaders is crucial to avoiding harmful impacts on species, forests, and local people, and to protecting forests worldwide. As one of the world’s largest catalogue producers—distributing product brochures in more than 120 countries—Avon is using the scale of its business to promote responsible forestry with its paper sourcing decisions as part of the company’s overall Hello Green Tomorrow commitment.

The Global Forest & Trade Network

Avon’s participation in WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) is helping to ensure that impacts on Indonesia’s forests and tiger habitats are not linked to the production of their catalogues.  GFTN engages in a solutions-oriented way with the private sector to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management.

By participating in GFTN, Avon receives technical support from WWF to help meet its commitment that all papers used for the company’s product brochures and other marketing papers are sourced responsibly. Through the Avon Paper Promise, Avon has committed to sourcing 100% of its paper from certified or post-consumer recycled content by 2020, with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper. As of 2012, 80% of Avon’s brochure paper met the Avon Paper Promise commitments, and more than 50% is sourced from FSC- certified forests, located mainly in North America, Europe and Brazil.

Why is Avon’s support for certification important?

WWF considers independent forest certification a vital tool for responsible forest management, and FSC is the most rigorous certification system to ensure that forests will be managed in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and that

Protects endangered species, old growth forests, wetlands and water quality

Maintains sustainable harvest levels over time

Protects local community and indigenous people’s rights

Restricts the use of harmful pesticides in forest management operations

Prevents illegally sourced timber

Avon’s participation in WWF’s GFTN supports responsible forest management and serves as an example for others to do the same. This leadership can help make sustainability the norm rather than just a goal.

What You Can Do

From copier paper to catalogues, we all use forest products every day. Avon has committed to sourcing paper responsibly, but this is a commitment we can all share. By looking for the FSC logo and choosing to buy FSC-certified or recycled products, everyone can reduce the global impact on tropical rainforests and the multitude of life that depends on them.