Responsible forest management and trade need to be mainstreamed: GFTN | WWF

Responsible forest management and trade need to be mainstreamed: GFTN

Posted on 26 September 2011
Around 1% of the tropical rainforests worldwide gets regenerated after trees have fallen naturally. Tree falls occur mainly when the rainy season starts. French Guiana.
© WWF / Roger LeGUEN
The entire forest-related sector must redouble its efforts to end illegal logging and make responsible forest management and trade the market standard around the globe before the end of the next decade, according to the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). 

During the celebration of its 20th anniversary in London today, WWF´s initiative to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management has launched the call to the global forest-related sector. Over the past 20 years, the GFTN has seen significant results and now boasts 272 companies from over 30 countries. Collectively, participants manage 21.5 million hectares of FSC certified forests and trade an estimated 18% of the global supply of forest products by value.

GFTN´s new strategy to 2020 is one that addresses these challenges, adapting and evolving in several directions. The network will increasingly work with emerging markets, expand to key partners who can leverage transformation throughout their regions and complete supply chains. It will also promote efficiency in practices, encourage recycling to reduce demand and engage on key policy initiatives to close the illegal market.

George White, head of GFTN, said: “The next decade is critical for the global forest sector as the world’s population and consequent demands for all kinds of forest products grow. As emerging economies such as China and India strive to meet the demands of their growing domestic markets for wood, fiber and energy, enormous stress is being placed on our natural forests. Only by making responsible forest management and trade “the global norm” we will be able to reverse these worrying trends in demand.

GFTN’s stepwise approach to help companies move towards forest certification, transparent supply chains and responsible procurement of forest products has been spread across the global forestry and forest product sectors. These include Europe, North and Central America, West and Central Africa, Russia and Asia.

Two decades ago, no markets existed for environmentally and socially responsible forest products. Concepts such as traceability, verification, chain of custody and due diligence were mere theory. In helping to define and implement these concepts, GFTN has played a pivotal role in transforming the global market towards one that values environmental and social responsibility.

Despite the advances made over the past 20 years, the problems of deforestation, illegal logging and poor forest management remain. According to a recent FAO report, globally, between 2000 and 2010, around 13 million hectares of forests have been converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year(1) . Another analysis by Chatham House suggests that, although illegal logging has fallen by around 22% since 2002, it also indicates that as of 2009, more than 100 million cubic metres of illegal timber were still being felled worldwide each year, degrading, and possibly leading to the destruction of more than five million hectares of forests, and resulting in between 0.4 and 4.3 billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions. Such a volume of illegal logs, laid end to end, would encircle the globe more than ten times over(2) .

George White added: “There is no time to lose. We ask our partners to redouble their commitments, to other forest businesses and governments to join this vision and spread responsible forest management and trade to markets and governance systems around the globe.”

Already today, HP, a GFTN participant since 2009, has announced a new shift to more environmentally sustainable printing that includes working to promote responsible management of forests and greater use of responsibly sourced paper. To that end, HP is becoming a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and committing that by the end of 2015, at least 50% of HP-branded paper will be FSC® certified and/or contain more than 30% post consumer content (up from 40% in 2011 and less than 3% in 2008).

Responsibly sourced paper is a key element in helping to reduce the environmental impact of our customers – and our business,” said Jeff Walter, environmental sustainability manager, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “Our work with the FSC is an example of how we are aggressively pursuing the necessary relationships, goals and milestones to continue our commitment in this area.


Contact: Edith Verhoestraete, GFTN communications + 34 627 829 369

Images, including pictures of the GFTN anniversary event are available on request.

ABOUT GFTN - First established in 1991, GFTN is the longest-running forest trade programme of its kind, transforming the global marketplace into a force for safeguarding the world’s valuable and threatened forests, while ensuring that these forests continue to provide economic and social benefits for the businesses and people who depend on them. GFTN’s influence spans not only forests but also the entire forest product supply chain, from forest floor to retail shelf. Today, GFTN has approximately 300 participants (including companies, entrepreneurs, communities and NGO´s) in more than 30 countries worldwide. 

ABOUT WWF - WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.


(1)FAO's The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010
(2) Illegal Logging and Related Trade: indicators of the Global Response, July 2010. Chatham House
Around 1% of the tropical rainforests worldwide gets regenerated after trees have fallen naturally. Tree falls occur mainly when the rainy season starts. French Guiana.
© WWF / Roger LeGUEN Enlarge