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Forest reception tackles timber trade and deforestation

WWF | WWF

3 min read Partner content

Almost 200 people filled the Terrace Pavilion at the House of Commons yesterday for a forest-themed reception as part of WWFs Forest Campaign.

The reception, held on the second anniversary of the EU Timber Regulation coming into force, highlighted the importance of preventing the UK’s trade in timber and wood-based products from contributing to global deforestation.

With forests disappearing at a rate of one football pitch every two seconds, and global demand for wood predicted to treble by 2050, there is an urgent need to put the timber market on a sustainable footing. Ahead of the General Election, WWF-UK is calling for politicians to take action to enable a market in 100% legal and sustainable timber by 2020.

WWF's Forest Campaign, which since its public launch in December has been supported by over 50,000 members of the public, has already secured backing from 34 influential businesses which have pledged to buy their timber and wood-based products from sustainable sources by 2020. Together with public and business supporters, WWF is calling for action by the UK and EU to ensure that there is a level playing field for all businesses engaged in responsible forest trade.

The reception launched the campaign’s political asks – to close the loopholes in the EU Timber Regulation so that all wood-based products imported into Europe are from legal sources; at present the Regulation does not cover several major product groups such as seating, printed material and musical instruments.

WWF-UK, along with business and other stakeholders, has identified and developed a number of mechanisms that would encourage or require business and government to procure wood-based products from sustainably-managed forests.

The reception attracted over 55 MPs from all parties who supported our aims to protect the world’s forests as part of the WWF Earth Hour photoshoot.

Other guests included leaders in responsible forest trade from business, local authorities and civil society.

Joan Walley MP, along with co-host Richard Benyon MP, welcomed guests and speakers: Steve Backshall, adventurer, environmentalist, author and ambassador for of the WWF campaign; Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability Director, Kingfisher plc; Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary; Lord de Mauley, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister; and David Nussbaum, Chief Executive WWF-UK .

Richard Gillies said,

“As businesses we do not believe there is a trade-off between sustainability and growth. We do not believe there is a trade-off between sustainability and jobs. From businesses in this room and I hope I speak for all of them, we see sustainability as the only route to long term and short term sustainable growth.”

Lord de Mauley said,

“Preventing illegal logging and promoting sustainable timber production is of fundamental importance to the world we live in.

“This year the EUTR is being reviewed, presenting government, NGOs, civil society and industry with a great opportunity to bear down further on the illegal timber trade and deforestation. We will continue to press in the EU for better implementation of the EUTR by all member states. And we will be looking for the best ways to increase its effectiveness, such as widening its product coverage.”

David Nussbaum said,

”Forests underpin the health and the wellbeing and the livelihoods of people and indeed our planet, and yet as we know you can buy products here in the UK, whether its chairs books or cards, which may have come from illegal or unsustainably sourced wood, so we are very grateful to the 50,000 people who have signed are petition saying it’s time to say no to this nonsense.”

The reception was hosted in association with Kingfisher, MS, James Latham, and Saint-Gobain.

Read the most recent article written by WWF - Make the government machine go green

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Environment