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Global Forest & Trade Network

Overview

Every business is in the forest business. Forests provide wood and paper products that companies and consumers use every day. But forests also provide vital ecological services, like filtering the air we breathe and purifying the water we drink. Local communities and species depend on these services for their very survival.

Deforestation is the single biggest threat to biodiversity and climatic stability. Nearly half of the planet’s original forests have been cut down and an area equivalent to almost 36 football fields of natural forest are lost every minute. Tropical forest loss is the leading cause of species extinctions and a leading contributor to climate change. Forest destruction releases more carbon dioxide than the world’s transportation sector.

Forests play a central role in the world’s economic health, as the forest products trade generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually. But demand for cheap wood and paper products has driven illegal logging and unsustainable logging in forests around the globe. WWF recognizes the private sector’s potential to shift that dynamic and contribute to the conservation of the world’s forests.

Priority Commodities

What's Behind the FSC Logo?

When you see that symbol, you don’t have to wonder whether pristine forests were destroyed to make the product or whether the workers wielding chainsaws were paid a living wage. Because when you see the FSC logo, you know the product can be traced back to a company that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Forest where wood is harvested per FSC norms

What WWF Is Doing

WWF's GFTN program

Man marking timber which has been legally harvested by a company which participates in WWF's Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN) program in western Ghana.

Sharing Knowledge to Save Forests

WWF works with companies—and the companies work with each other—to develop responsible sourcing policies, analyze the forest origins of their products, identify and mitigate sourcing risks, eliminate unsustainable sources of wood, engage with suppliers, share best practices, and make good decisions that reduce their environmental footprint.

GFTN-NA participating companies also are focused on progressively increasing the volumes of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified and recycled material in their supply chains. The FSC—which WWF helped establish nearly 20 years ago—has the most rigorous forest management standards for environmental and social responsibility.

Launched in 2006, GFTN-NA is part of a global program spanning 27 countries. GFTN-NA includes 10 companies across several forest product sectors. All are contributing to healthy forests through the creation and implementation of comprehensive programs related to responsible sourcing of forestry products. They serve as a model for others in their sector and across the globe.

GFTN-NA participants are also active on the policy front. Most are advocates for the Lacey Act, created in 1900 and amended in 2008 to include the prohibition of illegal timber and timber products from entering the US market. GFTN-NA participants are working with WWF to ensure full implementation of the 2008 amendments. The amendments are inspiring companies to make smarter sourcing decisions and monitor their global timber supply chains to avoid any illegal timber.

Expanding Its Reach
A priority for GFTN-NA over the next few years is broadening its outreach beyond corporate audiences. For example, GFTN-NA has shared its responsible sourcing guidance with the National Wood Flooring Association and is introducing the association’s members to GFTN companies from tropical regions. And GFTN-NA is deepening its relationships with other NGOs that are focused on responsible sourcing issues. It also works with local and federal governments, as well as universities and institutional purchasers, who recognize the role they can play in driving responsible forestry through their procurement decisions. And the network is reaching out to more consumers to raise awareness about the power of their purse to influence responsible forestry.

It is only through cooperation that we can protect the world’s forests. To learn more about GFTN-NA, contact us at gftn-na@wwfus.org

 

GFTN-North America

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of industrial timber, pulp, and paper, and is one of the top importers of wood from places plagued by illegal logging and poor forest management. U.S. companies can thus be crucial allies in protecting forests worldwide.

GFTN-North America brings together leading companies in the United States and Canada that are committed to responsible forest management and trade. These companies include retailers, manufacturers, importers, distributors and major buyers of wood and paper products such as building materials, furniture, flooring paper and packaging.

GFTN-North America helps participating companies analyze the origins of their wood and paper, assess and mitigate supply chain risk, eliminate unsustainable sources, and progressively increase the volumes of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified and recycled material in their supply chains over time. GFTN’s step-wise approach provides a credible and transparent global framework for companies to set and achieve robust goals around responsible forest product sourcing. GFTN provides technical assistance and training on responsible purchasing policies, timber legality, traceability, supplier engagement, and FSC certification, and helps connect like-minded companies for tangible business benefits.

Join the Global Forest & Trade Network! To find out how to participate in WWF’s GFTN-North America program, contact us at gftn@wwfus.org

Benefits

Access to On-the-Ground Information

GFTN participants have access to staff in 34 countries with technical expertise in forestry and trade issues, forest policy and regulation, risks associated with particular regions and species.

Best Practice Tools and Trainings

GFTN provides tools and trainings on purchasing policies, questionnaires, risk assessments, supplier and employee engagement, supply chain mapping, legality requirements (such as those for the U.S. Lacey Act), using lesser-known-species to take pressure off of threatened species, and other aspects of responsible sourcing.

Market Links

GFTN assists participants with sourcing responsible forest products through its global network of hundreds of companies. Field tours are available to see the responsible forest management practices and products of GFTN participants in priority regions.

Information Sharing

GFTN participants have access to numerous GFTN-organized forums to exchange best practices and lessons learned with each other. This includes an annual GFTN-North America participants meeting as well as educational webinars.

Leadership in Responsible Sourcing

Participation in WWF’s respected GFTN program builds credibility with external stakeholders about the rigor of companies’ sustainability commitments.

Communications Support

GFTN provides assistance to participants on developing credible, transparent messaging around their commitments to responsible forestry and trade, and engaging with other stakeholders on their responsible sourcing journey.

Experts

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