The European Commission set out a new framework of actions to protect and restore the world's forests, which addresses both the supply and demand side of forest products. It introduces measures for enhanced international cooperation with stakeholders and Member States, promotion of sustainable finance, better use of land and resources, sustainable job creation and supply chain management, and targeted research and data collection. It also launches an assessment of possible new regulatory measures to minimise the impact of EU consumption on deforestation and forest degradation.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
A four-year investigation by the US Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) uncovered evidence of an illegal timber trade stretching from Chinese-owned Dejia Group in West Africa to major hardware stores located across the USA.
The timber was from the okoumé tree, classed vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, with a range limited to just four African countries. US Federal officials are investigating the importers, Evergreen Hardwoods and Cornerstone Forest Products. The Dejia Group also exports to European countries where the EU Timber Regulation is in force, including France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Greece.
- Forest Sourcing
- United States
- Chinese-owned Dejia Group
- Cornerstone Forest Products
- Evergreen Hardwoods
- hardware stores
- illegal timber trade
- IUCN Red List
- okoumé tree
- The Dejia Group
- Timber Regulation
- US Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
- US Federal officials
Resolute Forest Products Lawsuits (re-alleged racketeering and defamation by environmental organisations, USA)
Canadian logging company Resolute Forest Products has filed two lawsuits against various Greenpeace entities, Stand. Earth (formerly known as "ForestEthics"), and some of these organisations' staff members in the United States and Canada. These lawsuits were brought in relation to the organisations' criticism of the environmental impact of Resolute Forest's logging practices in the Canadian boreal region and to their campaigns encouraging customers to hold Resolute to account for its unsustainable forestry practices. The environmental organisations being sued assert that the lawsuits are meritless and constitute "strategic lawsuits against public participation" ("SLAPP") meant to silence their criticisms. Following the filing of Resolute's lawsuits, Greenpeace launched a campaign aiming to stop the use of SLAPPs to silence free speech. As part of this campaign, Greenpeace has received support from over 100 authors in several countries.
After NRDC released powerful evidence of continued logging in boreal forest areas that were placed under a logging moratorium via the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), Resolute Forest Products came back with a media statement that underscored governments’ role in regulating forest clearcutting. "It’s the Quebec government that gives companies permission to go and harvest on these lands," said company spokesperson Karl Blackburn. “We do not go where we want. We go where the government allows us to go."
Although 2015 saw worldwide demand for graphic paper decline for the first time ever, the paper and forest-products industry as a whole is growing, albeit at a slower pace than before, as other products are filling the gap left by the shrinking graphic-paper market. Packaging is growing all over the world, along with tissue papers, and pulp for hygiene products. The paper and forest-products industry is changing, morphing, and developing, in terms of industry structure and market segments. The industry is also facing challenges to manage short-to-medium-term ‘grade turbulence’, finding cost efficiencies, and finding new markets for forest products.
FSC in Brazil is now working with BVRio, the organization that set up the Responsible Timber Exchange in late 2016. BVRio pulls together data on the pricing, supply chain and certification of timber and wood products through its Responsible Timber Exchange. Since opening in November 2016, the exchange has fielded more than 400 offers for 5 million cubic meters of timber, 30% of which was FSC-certified. The partnership with FSC is aimed at bolstering the market for certified forest products.
Greenpeace have released a briefing update document on the Montagnes Blanches Endangered Forest. Nearly 50% of the intact forest landscapes have been lost or degraded due to logging, road building, and other industrial development between 2000 -2013. The briefing document covers the recent and current forestry operations in the intact forest landscape and describes the future steps for long-term solutions in the area as well as the role customers should play in forest products.
Rainforest Alliance has extended the suspension period of the Resolute Forest Products certificate for PF Résolu Canada Inc. in Lac St-Jean Quebec by one year. The extended suspension will provide additional time to Resolute to resolve its’ past discrepancies. For the certificate to be re-instated, Resolute must continuously conform to the FSC criteria and their current outstanding non-conformities must be audited as closed. If these terms are not met by the end of the suspension period, Rainforest Alliance will terminate FSC’s certificate agreement for Lac St-Jean Quebec.
The think tank Innovation Forum held a two-day conference in Washington DC entitled “How business can tackle deforestation” attended by 160 representatives from companies, NGOs and investors. Whilst multiple major consumer goods companies have declared their commitments to achieving zero deforestation in their supply chains many others have raised concerns over the term and what the policy actually means in practice.
Rainforest Alliances’ recent position paper, ‘Halting Deforestation and Achieving Sustainability’ warned that zero deforestation commitments may not be enough to protect the world’s forests, due to two reasons. Firstly, though many major companies have signed up for these commitments, many other producers and buyers will not. These companies will continue to rely on deforestation to produce their goods, unless a way is found to address underlying issues, such as growing worldwide demand for forest products. Secondly, focusing solely on deforestation risks drawing attention away from other business practices within the commodities supply chain which may deserve equally urgent attention e.g. water scarcity and labour laws. In addition, the use of ‘zero deforestation’ as a catchphrase is problematic because there remains no clear agreement over what the term means. Rainforest Alliance emphasises the need for greater education, auditing and transparency so that consumers know the impact of what they are buying and are able to trust companies’ sustainability claims. Though a commendable step in the right direction, ‘zero deforestation’ commitments need to be backed up with comprehensive action plans if they are to deliver credible results.
A meeting between the International Board of Directors of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) acknowledged positive signs shown by Resolute Forest Products (Resolute FP). The meeting was held in response to an open letter from FSC to Resolute FP requesting they stopped discriminatory activities against FSC and demonstrate respect to their requirements after repeated public attacks by Resolute FP on FSC’s management policies. These attacks followed the suspension of three of Resolute FP’s FSC certificates. The meeting proved to be constructive and the two parties agreed to continue to work together to help the restoration of the suspended certificates.
The American Forest and Paper Association has released its 2014 Sustainability Report, exhibiting the substantial and measureable progress that US pulp, paper, packaging and wood products have made towards achieving sustainability goals. The report outlines how paper mills self-generate most of their energy needs, and most of that energy is renewable and that the forest products industry is the second largest producer of combined heat and power electricity in the manufacturing sector.
The China Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS) has been endorsed by the PEFC General Assembly. There are already about 2 million hectares of forests in China CFCS-certified, and more than 200 professionals have participated in the CFCC auditor training over the past years to be able to respond to the expected increase in demand for certification services following the endorsement by PEFC. According to PEFC’s website China is not only the largest manufacturer of forest products, they are also the ‘among the five countries with the largest forest area in the world’.
Building on the sustainability achievements of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016 and FSC Brazil announced that all forest products that will be acquired by the Organising Committee will be certified. This includes overlay structures, furniture, communication materials and stationary. The partnership between FSC Brazil and the Organising Committee is expected to boost the market for FSC certified wood in Brazil, and also to provide a push for responsible forest management in Brazil.
Canada’s Resolute Forest Products have had 3 of its forest management certificates suspended following complaints filed by the Grand Council of the Crees; the representing body of the First nations communities, as well as Greenpeace. The certificate suspension is due to the company failing to meet various FSC requirements including the protection of high conservation values and support from stakeholders for its operation. The suspended forest management certificates mean that Resolute can no longer label their pulp, paper and wood products as FSC-certified.
Short opinion piece on the major themes that were discussed at a recent Forest Legality Alliance meeting in Washington DC between members and experts involved in the harvest, manufacturing and trade of forest products. Illegal logging rates worldwide have declined by about 20 per cent since 2008. The main drivers indicating a shift were deemed to be that legality requirements are now in the mainstream (already in the US, EU and Australia and they are being explored in China and Japan), proactive companies are taking control of their supply chains, and the introduction of public procurement policies in some of the world’s major cities, in particular in Latin America, that require the sourcing of legal timber products.
The actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson is putting his support behind the construction of a $500 million tree-free paper mill in Canada which would produce straw-based paper. Prairie Pulp and Paper, the company behind the project, already produce a copy paper which is 80 per cent waste wheat straw. According to a study they commissioned this paper has a lower environmental impact than 100 per cent recycled paper. However, a representative of the Forest Products Association of Canada thinks wheat paper will be a niche product due to limited availability of waste wheat and the need for the strength and quality in paper that is provided by wood fibres.
Press release by WRI for their new Forest Legality Risk Information Tool. The risk tool provides details about where forest products come from and what issues a buyer might encounter. The tool allows searching by country or species to find specific information. Future additions to the tool will provide interactive supply chain profiling tools, such as decision trees.