The wood products story always begins in a forest. In many countries and for many years, this story has been about illegal logging and deforestation with few players taking responsibility for their actions. This story is changing.
The possibility of being associated with environmental and social degradation now carries serious risks for companies trading in wood products further up the supply chain. Regulatory penalties and reputational damage may result from violations of new legislation coming into effect banning illegal wood in Europe (FLEGT) and the United States (the Lacey Act). In addition, rising NGO and consumer concerns about product impacts can no longer be ignored.
Less well publicized than the risks, but equally important, are the opportunities. By changing their wood products stories, pioneering wood products companies can demonstrate real leadership in sustainability, secure a relaible supply and gain real competitive advantage.
A responsible wood product respects the environment and improves people's lives at every stage of its lifecycle.
While there are issues all along the supply chain, delivering responsible wood products requires intense attention to extracting raw materials, production and traceability.
Extraction: in a wood supply chain, harvesting timber generally has the greatest impact on the environment (forest and climate) as well as on vulnerable populations (forest dependent communities). Sourcing wood from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) provides the best assurance that the highest forest management standards have been met. However, the availability of FSC certified wood is limited, which means that retailers and producers need to invest in their supply chain to secure new sources of responsible raw materials.
Production: once the raw materials are obtained, even if they're certified, the manufacturing process needs to be constantly monitored, in particular to assure compliance with health and safety standards.
Traceability: this is the backbone of a commitment to developing only legal and responsible wood products. To ensure that wood products come from responsibly managed forests, companies must implement robust tracking systems all the way back to the source.
Setting up traceability systems and tackling environmental and social issues at the extraction and production stage can be particularly complex and are often distant from a company’s core business and markets. TFT supports its Members on the ground, giving objective insight into the realities of their supply chain and the practical support they need to deliver responsible wood products.
TFT has a decade-long track record of successfully assisting businesses to deliver responsible wood products to market. We help you develop and implement a credible action plan. We’re present on the ground, in forests and factories, to mitigate your key environmental and social risks. Our approach includes 5 key services:
1. Map the supply chain and identify key social and environmental risks;
2. Set up a traceability system all the way back to the raw material source;
3. Provide technical assistance on the ground to help tackle key sustainability risks;
4. Achieve legal compliance and certification when credible standards exist;
5. Communicate your changing product story to stakeholders.
If you are interested in becoming a TFT Member and embark on the Responsible Product journey, please check the Engage with us section.