Marking Two Decades of Advancing Responsible Forestry and TradeWith the dawn of another New Year, endless possibilites lie ahead for all of us. This year, more than ever, the state of the world’s forests are under the spotlight with the UN International Year of the Forests. With this global focus, I am excited to think about what the Global Forest & Trade Network can accomplish this year, but I am also keenly reminded of all that has led up to this point.
Over twenty years ago a small but visionary group of companies in the UK banded together, bravely joining WWF on a journey to transform the global forest products industry into a force for safeguarding the world’s valuable and threatened forests. Having sat on the other side of the desk all those years ago—leading sustainability efforts for J Sainsbury PLC—I am reminded of what the fervor of a committed few can truly accomplish and how those commitments were the start of something truly groundbreaking.
Now, 20 years later, we’re commemorating a force that has grown into hundreds of companies in over thirty countries across the world, with GFTN participants representing over 19% of the share of forest products traded internationally each year. With continued momentum driven by a global focus on forests this year, I can only imagine the energy that will continue to drive the forest industry into a new era of responsible management coupled with environmental and social stewardship.
I invite you to join the GFTN on a journey over the next several months, reflecting on not only where we have been and the progress seen along the way—through updates like this newsletter—but also taking a look into the future and examining what’s next for the forest products industry. Mark your calendars for a celebration at the end of September, where thought leaders from industry, the environmental community and the public and private sectors will come together in London, the place where this all started, to cast a vision for what the next decade will look like for the forest products industry. I believe the best is yet to come.
George White firstname.lastname@example.org