IKEA, Tetra Pak and Kingfisher are partnering to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber and clarify the role of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in the delivery of these values.
The two-year Value and Impact Analysis (VIA) initiative 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. It is supported by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance.
The effort is independent from the FSC but is designed to be useful to the organization, by providing a tool that shows the contribution it makes to the social, environmental and economic values of the world’s forests. The learning from the initiative will be shared with other certification schemes as well other sectors beyond forestry that are covered by more than 20 certification schemes that are members of ISEAL.
“On average, our package contains 70 percent paper derived from wood fibre," said Tetra Pak president and CEO Dennis Jönsson. "Certification is important to us as it gives us the opportunity to make sure that we source from responsibly managed forests. This, of course, requires a certification standard that lives up to its promises. As a long-standing supporter of FSC, we are proud to be one of the founding partners of this initiative.”
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Established in 1993, FSC is an independent, non governmental, not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Over the past two decades, the FSC system has been widely recognized for its strong multi-stakeholder processes and carefully defined social and environmental criteria for forest management. However, it has often been a challenge for businesses producing FSC-certified products to quantify and demonstrate the value the system brings to the better management of the world’s forests.
Addressing this, the VIA initiative intends to demonstrate how 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.
“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," said Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability Director for Kingfisher plc. "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.”
By 2050, it is estimated we will need three times more wood than we do today, which means there’s never been a more pressing time to get sustainable forestry management to scale. 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 recognized as one way to achieve this.
Earlier this year, the Rainforest Alliance (RA) lifted the suspension of the FSC certificate of Swedwood Karelia LLC, a subsidiary of IKEA, following an independent appeals committee evaluation of the company’s 2013 annual audit. Swedwood’s certificate, related to nearly 300,000 hectares (700,000 acres) in the Karelia Forest in northwestern Russia, was suspended as a result of a series of non-conformances with the FSC standards identified during Swedwood’s last annual audit. Karelia is one of the last remaining old-growth forests in Europe.
One major cause of deforestation is land cleared for palm oil production. This week, institutional investors representing over half a trillion dollars in assets under management called on four major palm oil producers to adopt an immediate moratorium on deforestation and join the growing effort within the industry to establish traceable, deforestation-free palm oil supply chains.