Industry News

New Forest Trends report: 'More efforts needed to cut deforestation out of commodity supply chains'

Forest Trends has released a new report - downloadable here - aimed to track progress on 579 public commitments from companies around the world who have pledged to remove forest destruction from their supply chains.

These businesses depend on the “big four” agricultural commodities – palm oil, wood products, soy, and cattle – responsible for more than a third of tropical deforestation each year.

The report 'Supply Change: Tracking Corporate Commitments to Deforestation-free Supply Chains, 2016' looks at 566 companies representing at least US$7.3 trillion in market capitalization who were identified as having deforestation risk tied to these four commodities within their supply chains. Of these companies, 366 have made coinciding commitments to shift to sustainable sources.

Key findings include:

• Companies are most likely to make commitments toward palm, and timber & pulp. Of companies active in palm, 61% have adopted pledges, compared with only 15% and 19% of those companies active in cattle and soy, respectively. The disparity is alarming because it is estimated that cattle production causes 10 times more deforestation than palm.

• Large public companies are more likely to make commitments than small private ones, possibly as a result of pressure and higher standards for disclosure from financial institutions. Many of these large companies are consumer-facing entities headquartered in North America and Europe, far away from the environmental damage caused by commodity agriculture.

• Companies that operate “upstream” (producers, processors, and traders) are more likely to make commitments than their “downstream” counterparts (manufacturers and retailers) – and their pledges are potentially more impactful. Upstream actors represent just 26% of tracked companies, but 80% have made a commitment, compared with 62% of downstream companies.

• Current disclosure is insufficient as companies have only reported quantifiable progress toward one in three commitments. Even among pledges whose target dates have already passed, companies have disclosed progress on fewer than half.

"We applaud the hundreds of companies that have publicly made a commitment to reducing deforestation in their supply chains. However, this is only the starting point", commented Forest Trends Association President Michael Jenkins.

"We encourage all companies to update their stakeholders on their progress along the way and the hundreds of other companies that have not yet made a commitment to doing so. We hope that this report helps to inform stakeholder decisions and advance the transition to deforestation-free supply chains", Mr Jenkins concluded.


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PEFC grows its membership in Africa with addition of Ghana

Ghana has joined PEFC becoming its third member in Africa alongside Cameroon and Gabon.

"Joining the PEFC Alliance is a vital step towards gaining international recognition for our Ghanaian National Forest Certification System," said Emmanuel Amoah Boakye from the Working Group on Forest Certification."Once our system has achieved PEFC endorsement, our country’s forest owners, forestry companies and the whole forestry sector will be able to demonstrate their sustainable forest management practices, here and abroad."

"While there was already a Ghanaian national standard for the sustainable management of natural forests and plantations, the PEFC Collaboration Fund supported us as we developed the other aspects of a certification system, such as the Group Certification requirements and a Chain of Custody Standard," Mr. Boakye added.

"It is fantastic to welcome Ghana as the latest member of the PEFC Alliance," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, following the announcement. "Through our Collaboration Fund, we have been providing financial and technical support for the development of the Ghanaian national forest certification system, so it is wonderful to see the country take an important step towards PEFC endorsement by becoming a PEFC member."

Ghana follows Hungary as the latest country whose membership can be traced back to seed funding provided through a PEFC Collaboration Fund project.


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Thailand moves forward towards PEFC membership

PEFC and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) co-hosted a session within Asian Paper in Bangkok to focus on Thailand's application to PEFC for membership.

The event represented an opportunity to debate the Thai national forest certification system and the developments in sustainable trade and production of wood-based products.

“Now that the Thailand Forest Certification Council is officially registered within FTI we have completed all the requirements and look forward to becoming a member of PEFC,” announced Dr. Nihkom, Chair of the TFCC. “Joining PEFC’s international alliance will give Thailand prominence and recognition for all the work we are doing to advance sustainability within our country.”

“I would like to congratulate all the stakeholders who have worked so hard over the past years to achieve this significant step towards the PEFC endorsement of a Thai Forest Certification System,” said Mr. Gunneberg, as he made the announcement. “We look forward to welcoming Thailand as a National member once they have been voted in by our PEFC members.”


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Grown in Britain refreshes its home-grown timber products index

Grown in Britain - the Campaign promoting products derived from UK woodlands and forests - has recently updated its index due to a strong increase in licence holders.

The new list - available here - is extremely useful for clients seeking to purchase assured UK timber and contains a wide range of products including furniture, woodfuel, flooring, charcoal and cladding.

"The buying public, retailers and the construction sector have whole-heartedly embraced Grown in Britain.  There’s a huge appetite within the sector to use more home-grown timber and support UK woods and forests. Access to products has historically been a barrier. Working together with the UK’s major contractors, retailers and our growing number of licence holders we’ve made huge headway and the publication of the list is another key milestone”, Grown in Britain CEO Dougal Driver commented.

“If we look at the construction sector alone, they are demanding an improvement in the availability of construction materials made from home-grown timber and they want to see Grown in Britain licensed material in as many projects as possible”, Mr Driver added.


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Confor launches new website to better promote forestry and wood sector

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) has launched its new website.

Along with member information and a library of key documentation, the website highlights the benefits that forestry and wood sector brings to the UK economy.

In this view, the new online platform features relevant media contents including four short videos, which look at the breadth of forestry and wood's contribution.

"This has been a very successful year for Confor so far and the website launch continues the positive momentum," said Confor's Chief Executive Stuart Goodall.

"We recognised some time ago that there was a clear need for simple visual materials to tell the forestry and timber story to a wider audience. We were delighted by Our Forests Our People and the positive reaction to it, and the animation has built on this. The new videos take things a step further by appealing to different audiences and building out from the core messages."

"To be a successful sector, we need to tackle outdated misperceptions and demonstrate the significant benefits we provide to society. This website, and our continuing efforts to promote forestry and timber through the media, are vital to achieving that goal.”

The new website is live here:


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