Driving Responsible Trade Across Borders | WWF

Driving Responsible Trade Across Borders

Posted on 02 July 2010
The GFTN is helping to drive improvements in the management of the Amazon’s valuable and threatened forests by working with companies, such as this FSC-certified forest concession in Peru.
The integrity of the global environment depends on the health of the Amazon, the largest tropical rainforest and river basin in the world. Today, rapid deforestation threatens these biologically rich forests. At current rates, 25 per cent of the Amazon’s original forests are projected to be destroyed by 2020—a looming disaster not only for the region’s plants and animals, but for the world. If this global crisis is to be averted, then the root of the problem must be addressed—unsustainable demand. Through the strength of its global network, the GFTN is reaching across borders to facilitate links between committed companies to drive responsible trade and combat irresponsible and illegal logging.

Partnering together to tackle this challenge of increasing global demand on the Amazon’s natural resources, GFTN’s programmes in North America and Latin America organized a trade mission to Peru and Bolivia in June to link responsible demand to responsible producers. Two US distributors of tropical hardwood joined GFTN staff on a ten day journey, touring certified forest operations and processing plants in Peru and Bolivia. And these efforts are already beginning to pay off with Aserradero Espinoza, a GFTN Peru Participant, negotiating an agreement for approximately US$200,000 to supply 158 cubic metres of sawn wood to one of the visiting US buyers.

“For companies to really understand what it takes to source responsibly, these types of trips are an invaluable way to gain firsthand knowledge, make contacts and illustrate the benefits that GFTN provides to participating companies,” said Amy Smith, Senior Programme Officer for GFTN-North America. “A trip like this goes beyond conversations or discussions on how to implement responsible procurement. It helps buyers put theory into practice, enabling them to see what is happening on the ground and hear directly from responsible forest operators the ways that GFTN is assisting them in reaching their certification goals and responsibly managing their forests.”

A key challenge facing the GFTN in Latin America is working with responsible producers to increase their capacity to supply consistent levels of certified and finished products to the US and European markets. Smith shared that many US buyers come to the region with a specific product in mind, and while a semi-finished product may be a short term solution, they are ultimately looking to source products that can quickly be put on the market.

“In order to increase their production levels, many GFTN Participants in Peru and Bolivia require additional investments, especially for machinery, equipment and working capital,” said Raúl Dancé, Trade Marketing Specialist for GFTN-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC). “We are working through opportunities like this to create strategic partnerships between responsible demand and supply. And the relationship that has emerged from this trade mission is a great step in this direction.

” Through strategic efforts over the past nine months to increase trade of timber products from responsible sources in Latin America, the GFTN is driving lasting and positive change for the Amazon’s valuable and threatened forests. Building off the momentum from these efforts, the team is already planning another trip for buyers to Colombia in October—continuing to link together companies committed to achieving and supporting responsible forestry.

For more information contact

Amy Smith (amy.smith@wwfus.org)
Raúl Dancé (rdance@wwfca.org)
The GFTN is helping to drive improvements in the management of the Amazon’s valuable and threatened forests by working with companies, such as this FSC-certified forest concession in Peru.
© WWF/GFTN Enlarge
Raúl Dancé, pictured on right, tours facilities of s GFTN Participant in Peru with visiting US buyer.
© WWF/GFTN Enlarge