Marks and Spencer and Pearson United in Commitment to Global Forestry | WWF

Marks and Spencer and Pearson United in Commitment to Global Forestry

Posted on 07 June 2004

London, UK - The fight to save the planet’s diminishing forests receives a boost this week with the expansion of an influential partnership between the business community and WWF-UK.

On Monday 7 June 2004 a gathering of over 50 leaders from the business community, members of the WWF-UK Forest and Trade Network (WWF-UK FTN) will welcome new members Marks and Spencer and Pearson to a growing band of companies committed to improving the management of the world’s production forests through responsible purchasing.

The WWF-UK FTN is part of a global network of like-minded companies that make up the WWF Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN). Since founding the first FTN in the UK in 1991, the GFTN network has grown to over 500 companies, in 30 countries, representing a broad business spectrum from small family businesses to leading multinationals.

Marks and Spencer and Pearson are both major consumers of timber and paper products; as members of the WWF-UK FTN they have committed to increasing the proportion of timber that can be traced back to responsibly managed forests. Members of the group have buying policies focussing on issues such as sourcing timber from verifiably known or legal sources.

Rachel Hembery, Manager of the WWF-UK Forest & Trade Network puts the FTN’s work into a global context: “Forests contain as much as 90 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, from the great apes, tigers and pandas to millions of species of plants. We cannot conserve species without conserving their habitat. Only 10 percent of the world’s forests are in protected areas so the management of the forests outside those areas is a key conservation issue.”

“Responsible timber sourcing directly impacts on the management of forests and the growth of the Forest and Trade Networks here in the UK, and around the globe, has allowed companies to positively influence forest conservation to the benefit of all.”

Mike Barry, Marks and Spencer Head of Corporate Social Responsibility explains their interest in the group: “We have been working on the responsible sourcing of wood for over a year and are looking at every piece of timber or timber product we use, including wooden furniture, the 30 million statements used by our financial services division, 27,000 tons of food packaging to the 700 tons of wood used to make cellulosic fibres found in men’s suit linings. We have been very impressed by the FTN’s commitment to providing leadership and energy on the important issue of responsible timber sourcing and look forward to both harnessing and contributing to this collective power.”

As the World's largest book company Pearson’s influence on global paper buying is significant, the company purchases 400,000 tonnes of paper every year. Pearson’s Director of Purchasing Alan Miller explains why they joined the FTN: "As a major paper user, we want to meet our responsibilities to the environment. Joining the Network will help us work with our suppliers to do this - by giving us an independent and credible source of information and practical advice on responsible paper sourcing issues."

The 61 companies that make up the WWF-UK FTN include Boots, Homebase, Jewson, Travis Perkins and Bovis. Together they buy around 11 billion pounds worth of timber and paper products per year, a total of 15.5 million cubic metres WRME (wood raw material equivalent) representing approximately 20% of the total UK consumption of forest products.

As members they benefit from practical guidance on sourcing credibly certified timber and paper products, current information on good forest management practices and credible certification systems and information and ideas exchange with other members.

An international conference in Farnham, Surrey on 7 and 8 June will bring together members of the GFTN to discuss progress over the last twelve years and look to the future. Speakers from the public and private sector will highlight issues such as government buying strategy, the problem of global deforestation and the attitudes of retailers to responsible purchasing. Members from Russia, West and Central Africa and South East Asia will also be attending to encourage further trade links.

For further information:
Gill Harrison on 020 7921 5445 or mobile 07711 546404
Simon Forrester 01874 610142 or mobile 07932 755515

Other recently joined members of the group:

MBNA Europe has operated the Affinity Credit Card for WWF since 1994. This partnership has so far generated in excess of £4 million for WWF's crucial conservation work across the globe. WWF and MBNA have also produced a non-PVC credit card, which is proving extremely popular with the many
thousands of WWF members who already hold an MBNA credit card. MBNA are one of the largest producer of DM materials in the UK and their commitment to working with WWF FTN will ensure that increasing amounts of MBNA's wood product requirements come from independently certified, well managed sources.

Countryside Properties is a specialist developer operating mainly in London and the South East, the South West and North West of England. In 2003 Countryside Properties had an annual turnover this year of £419m and employed around 900 people.

Increasingly, Countryside Properties' developments comprise a mix of uses, including both private and affordable housing, commercial property and recreational and community facilities. Countryside Properties has received numerous awards for its innovative and responsible approach to development and is a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index Series.

Redrow plc is one of the UKs leading house builders and commercial property developers, building more than 4,000 new homes each year in England, Scotland and Wales. Neil Fitzsimmons, Group Managing Director, says: “Redrow recognises the importance of sustainability and that it has a responsibility to the environment and wider community in which it operates.”

Travis Perkins is one of the largest suppliers of timber and building materials in the United Kingdom. The group currently operates from more than 680 branches throughout the UK. The company has been recently awarded Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody Certification for 40 branches, with a further 70 in progress to be certified before the end of 2003.
Ian Goldsmith, Travis Perkins Group Planning Director, commented, ”In 2001 the company set challenging targets to increase the percentage of timber products sourced from certified sources. We embarked on this strategy both because it is the ethically right path for a responsible organisation to take, and because feedback from customers has shown that a growing proportion prefer to buy timber sourced from well managed forests.

Furthermore, government policy is demanding that its own departments must actively seek timber from legal and sustainable sources. As part of our commitment to responsibly managed timber resources, we will continue to increase our range of certified products in the future.”