Wal-Mart joins WWF in fight against illegal logging
Earlier this year the American discount department store committed to purchasing 100 per cent of its wild caught salmon from sources certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) within four years; WWF were co-founders of the MSC in 1997.
Now, by becoming a member of the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), Wal-Mart has committed to using more wood from sustainable, certified sources and phasing out wood from illegal or non-sustainable sources.
“With nearly half of the world’s forests already gone, action is urgently needed,” said Suzanne Apple, WWF-US vice-president for Business & Industry. “Wal-Mart’s commitment to support responsible forestry answers that call to action.”
The United States is the largest consumer of industrial timber, pulp and paper in the world. The US is also among the top destinations for imports of wood from areas where illegal logging and trade are common such as Indonesia, China and Brazil. Thus, the US market is critical to protecting forests worldwide.
Wal-Mart sources wood for furniture from the Amazon, Russia, northern China, Indonesia and the Mekong region of south-east Asia. These areas include some of the most biologically diverse places on earth, places that WWF is working to protect.
Within one year, Wal-Mart will complete an assessment of where its wood is coming from and whether it is legal and well managed. Once the assessment is complete Wal-Mart has committed to eliminating wood from illegal and unknown sources within five years.
“One of our goals at Wal-Mart is to sell products that sustain and protect our resources,” said Matt Kistler, Wal-Mart’s senior vice-president of Sustainability. “By joining the GFTN we can further this goal by providing our customers with a reliable supply of wood products that come from responsibly managed forests.”
The GFTN is a WWF initiative to combat illegal and unsustainable logging. The network promotes responsible management of valuable and threatened forests in the Amazon, Amur-Heilong (Russia), Borneo, Sumatra, Congo, Mekong (Southeast Asia) and other areas where forests are threatened.