WWF, big companies call for more corporate action to protect tigers
By moving supply chains towards credibly certified sources, a number of commodity sectors can ensure that they are not contributing to the habitat loss that endangers tigers in the wild. Credible certification offers a compromise between the needs of this endangered species, local industries and the global demand for the high value products found in tiger landscapes.
A group of companies from WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) - including industry leaders such as HP, Tetra Pak and Coop - pledged to support tiger conservation by signing the Corporate Tiger Declaration, a joint call to urgently safeguard this critically endangered species.
The declaration states, in part, that the companies will “Strive, through our business practices, to avoid or minimize impacts of our natural resource sourcing on tiger habitat by implementing responsible purchasing policies and, where possible, to improve landscapes for wild tiger populations.” It also calls on other companies from the same sector to follow suit and protect vital tiger habitats in current and future procurement decisions.
The declaration follows the historic International Tiger Conservation Forum in November in St. Petersburg, Russia where world leaders from tiger range countries committed to funding and implementing a global recovery plan to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.
“With as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild, there is an urgent need to save this species from the brink of extinction and we need action from government and industry alike,” said Mike Baltzer, leader of WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative. “Conversion of forest habitats for palm oil, fibre and timber products increasingly threatens the survival of wild tigers.”
Tigers today only occur in 7% of their historic range and continue to lose habitat. Unsustainable practices in the timber and palm oil industries are two of the leading causes of tiger habitat conversion, Baltzer said.
“By taking the initiative to sign their own declaration of support for tiger conservation efforts, these companies aim to inspire others to do the same,” concluded Baltzer. “We hope that more companies will show their commitment to find solutions for tigers just as the governments did in St. Petersburg. We know that corporate based action can make a difference and we need those solutions, that type of action, for tigers now.”
For example, efforts to find sector-based solutions, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for palm oil and credible certification standards such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for wood and paper, need to be pursued with more vigour if we want tigers to survive in places like the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Baltzer said.
Engaging with 285 companies across the forest products sector, WWF’s GFTN is helping companies pursue credible certification and implement responsible purchasing, removing unknown and unwanted wood or fibre, such as illegally harvested wood, while pursuing an increasing volume of credibly certified material.
“Recognizing that the time to act is now, these companies’ commitment to ensuring that their procurement activities do not unwittingly contribute to the destruction of vital tiger habitats is important in reversing the trajectory of dwindling wild tiger populations,” said George White, head of WWF’s GFTN. “By establishing traceability in their supply chains and demanding credibly certified timber and fibre, companies across the forest products industry can do their part to ensure that tigers stand a fighting chance.”
Additional signatories of the declaration include ADIS PTE Ltd, Anco Furniture, BKB Hevea Products, Dai Thanh Furniture, Dasso Industrial Group, Forexco, Holzpunkt AG, Khai Vy, Nature Flooring, Power Dekor Group, Ropress Genossenschaft, ScanCom Vietnam, Sommer Holzwerkstatt, Thang Loi Enterprise, Thanh Hoa, Tran Duc Group, Tri Tin Co Ltd, and Truong Thanh.