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WWF’s ‘Forests Forward’ Helps Companies Deliver on Science-Driven Strategies to Benefit Nature, Climate, People

Companies including HP, IKEA, Kimberly-Clark, Lowe’s and Williams-Sonoma are working with WWF to create lasting change that makes tangible differences in people’s lives and the health of our natural world.

Today, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched Forests Forward — a program that engages with companies and other stakeholders around the globe to deliver effective, nature-based strategies for forests that help businesses achieve their sustainability goals.

On the heels of the launch of its Climate Solutions Partnership with HSBC and World Resources Institute — aimed at unlocking barriers to finance for innovators developing climate solutions around the world — WWF will work with companies participating in Forests Forward to create meaningful, long-term benefits for nature, climate and people. Participants will also gain a better understanding of how to mitigate sourcing, climate and social risks while demonstrating leadership and building resilient supply chains.

So far, five of the world’s foremost US companies have signed on to Forests Forward: HP Inc.; International Paper Company; Kimberly-Clark; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; and Williams-Sonoma, Inc; with more than a dozen others, including major international market actors IKEA, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Italian tissue-paper giant Sofidel S.p.A.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a groundswell of ambition from companies that want to take action for forests to deliver on their nature and climate commitments,” said Kerry Cesareo, WWF’s SVP for forests. “What’s needed is the guidance to pair this ambition with meaningful actions to reduce companies’ footprints and provide landscape opportunities grounded in science and respect for local communities. Forests Forward aims to [give] companies opportunities to scale up action on forests and confront some of the biggest threats facing our planet today. And these actions [will] drive real, lasting change that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives and the health of our natural world.”

The Forests Forward program focuses on three pillars:

  • Landscape opportunities for nature, climate and communities. Forests Forward provides unique opportunities to support rigorous, nature-based solutions in critically important forest landscapes around the world to deliver these benefits. Examples of these landscapes include Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; Sabah, Malaysia; and the southeastern US; among others.

  • Responsible supply chains for the future. WWF helps businesses design and implement responsible supply chain strategies for companies with product or packaging sourcing that can impact forests.

  • Improved forest management. WWF works with companies that manage forests to implement strategies that boost those forests’ ability to sustain biodiversity, benefit global climate and support local communities.

“Forests are more than the trees they contain; and not all forests are created equal, in terms of the carbon and biodiversity benefits they provide,” says David Chaffin, Ph.D., Global Responsible Materials Sourcing Lead at Kimberly-Clark. “As the world faces the twin climate and biodiversity crises, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with WWF and like-minded companies ready to take leadership action on climate, biodiversity and Indigenous rights through their forest sourcing practices.”

WWF says Forests Forward is central to its mission to stop deforestation and forest degradation and protect biodiversity while promoting sustainable livelihoods. Other participating companies include a dozen that operate in critical, forest-producing countries: The ALPI Group, Bois et Scierie du Gabon, Companie des Bois du Gabon, Gabon Wood Industry, Gabonaise d’Exploitation de Bois, Interholco, The Navigator Company, The New Forests Company, Stora Enso Oyj., Suzano S/A and Veracel.

“Planting trees alone is not enough to meet our Vision 2030 commitments to the health of forests or climate,” asserts Sophie Beckham, Chief Sustainability Officer at International Paper. “We’re excited to be a part of Forests Forward to deepen our understanding and practice of integrating science into our decision-making and to implement solutions that deliver positive results for people and the planet.”

Companies interested in joining Forests Forward can contact [email protected] to learn more.