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WWF Announces Williams-Sonoma, Inc. As Newest Member Of Global Forest and Trade Network

Commitment supports responsible management of world's most threatened forests, protecting species and fighting climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 27, 2008  –  World Wildlife Fund announced today that Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has joined the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), WWF’s initiative to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., which includes the Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home, and Williams-Sonoma brands, is a leading specialty retailer of high quality products for the home. By joining GFTN, Williams-Sonoma Inc., has committed to increase the proportion of wood products in its supply chain that originate from credibly certified forests and to phase out unknown and unwanted wood sources for its brands in the United States and Canada.

With deforestation accounting for nearly 30 percent of all global carbon emissions, WWF officials hailed the agreement as an important step forward in efforts to halt climate change and protect forests and species.

“Retailers and consumers both have a role to play in saving the forests and the people and animals depending on them. Knowing and caring about the source of wood products is an important first step,” said WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. “With this agreement, Williams-Sonoma is demonstrating leadership and a strong commitment to responsible business practices that we hope will serve as an example that other companies follow.”

“At Williams-Sonoma, Inc., we believe in responsible management of natural resources. In partnership with GFTN, we will take our wood sourcing to one of the highest standards in the industry,” said Laura Alber, President of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. “This is yet another way that our brands can provide our customers with home furnishings that they will be proud to own, while meeting their needs around quality, design and value.”

GFTN members have annual forest products sales of nearly $53 billion per year, are engaged in 174 trading deals with fellow members, and employ over 2.7 million people globally.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s commitment includes the importation and sale of wood-based furniture.  Within one year, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. will complete an assessment of the wood used in its furniture to determine its origin and whether the wood is from well-managed forests. Once the assessment is completed and within five years, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has committed to obtain wood from known sources that are responsibly managed and ensure that important environmental and social values are protected. 

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. sources furniture for its brands from many countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brazil.  These areas include some of the most biologically diverse places on earth; places that WWF – and now Williams-Sonoma, Inc. – are working to protect.    

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s commitment to responsible forestry builds upon the company’s demonstrated practice of corporate social responsibility.  Williams-Sonoma, Inc. previously implemented a responsible catalog paper procurement policy and only uses catalog paper sourced from well-managed forests certified to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) standards.

About World Wildlife Fund
WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.    

About Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high quality products for the home. These products, representing six distinct merchandise strategies - Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma Home - are marketed through 613 stores, seven direct mail catalogs and six e-commerce websites.

Note to editors:
The Global Forest & Trade Network (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.

GFTN assists companies in evaluating their procurement and implementing appropriate action plans to ensure sustainable supply. By facilitating trade links between companies committed to responsible forestry, the GFTN creates market conditions that help conserve forests while providing economic and social benefits for the businesses and people that depend on them. More than 370 companies are members of the Global Forest & Trade Network, including manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, forest owners and managers. Read more about our work on sustainable forestry at: www.worldwildlife.org/naftn