Led by The Prince of Wales, UK business leaders today met at World Wildlife Fund’s Forest Business Forum to explore ways to prevent the UK market in wood products from contributing to forest destruction.
The UK consumed wood-based products and materials in excess of £14.4 billion in 2013, making the UK the world’s fifth largest importer of wood-based products. Products contributing to this consumption include most paper products, furniture, and musical instruments. WWF-UK recognizes that they have a responsibility to ensure that their customers are educated so they are not purchasing products that exacerbate forest destruction. Studies indicate that forests are disappearing at a rate of one football pitch every two seconds, and global demand for wood for timber, paper and fuel is set to triple by 2050.
WWF’s Forest Campaign was launched in September 2014 and since then, over 30 businesses have publicly pledged to source all their wood-based products from legal and sustainable sources by 2020.
Chief Executive of WWF-UK, David Nussbaum, said,“WWF-UK’s forest campaign challenges businesses to commit to responsible trade in wood and paper to help end deforestation around the world. Businesses that rely on wood, from greetings card companies to furniture manufacturers and musical instruments makers, need to step up and make sure they only use materials from sustainable sources. I am delighted that The Prince of Wales has brought his passion and concern for the environment to help highlight this pressing issue.”
Prince Charles is passionate about combating climate change, deforestation and wildlife crime, amongst other things. In May he teamed up with his son, Prince William to attend an international conference in London to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
The Prince of Wales succeeded Princess Alexandra in 2011 as President of WWF-UK. The Princess held the post for nearly 30 years. Prince Philip was the first ever President of WWF in the UK, from 1961 to 1981, and is now President Emeritus of WWF International (global network).
Companies represented at the Forest Business Forum today, involved representatives from Boots, BSW Timber, James Latham, Kimberley-Clark, Kingfisher, Lend Lease, Pearson and Tesco, as well as wildlife presenter and author Steve Backshall and WWF Ambassador Deborah Meaden.
The atmosphere was positive as each speaker discussed the importance of protecting the world’s resources. As Deborah Meaden said “It makes business sense for leading businesses to work together to reach solutions that ensure the long-term supply of a resource on which they, as well as nature, depend. These businesses need forests, and forests need them.”
Feature photo: © Chloe Howard 2014