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21.03.2024. It's one of the earliest existing social networks, engineered by nature to allow for communication and personal relationships 24/7. It is open source and wireless, no passwords or wifi needed. A natural tropical forest is a wild thing, yet its wild species need protection: gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants, to name but a few.

Science-driven innovation is urgently needed to ensure this quintessentially life-important social network continues thriving. For the well-being of people, climate and planet, Interholco joined forces with WWF to push forests forward.

FORESTS FORWARD is a signature WWF programme for ambitious corporate action, giving companies and other stakeholders the means to scale up action on forests and confront some of the biggest threats facing our planet today.

The Ngombé forest that Interholco manages in the Republic of Congo is part of a large stretch of forest between two state-protected national parks (Odzala Kokoua, North West and Ntokou-Pikounda, South-East). All three together are a vast network of ancient tropical forest (29,672 km2) roughly the size of Belgium (30,700 km2).

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Ngombé's forest site on Explorer Land

Currently, it is quite easy to raise investment for agriculture, or cattle grazing and find well-paying markets worldwide for soy, palm oil or beef. However, whilst social networks are typically valued at several billion dollars, markets are reluctant to reward social, environmental and economic efforts and the wide range of development benefits that go hand in hand with forest protection.

Interholco’s subsidiary IFO has been managing the Ngombé forest according to the Principles and criteria of FSC certification for over 10 years (FSC® C122325). Over 300,000 hectares have been set aside for biodiversity conservation, and nearly 50,000 hectares are dedicated to community development for more than 85 villages. The forest management model implements reduced impact harvesting (0,8 trees in the equivalent of one football pitch). Monitoring reports and surveillance audits take place on the ground at least once a year.

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INTERHOLCO's stand in the Nature Pavilion (NOAH). From left to right: Ms. Kathrin McCarthy, IHC's Carbon Trader and Biochar Project Manager; Ms. Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal, IHC's Communication and Marketing Manager and Ms. Francesca Mahoney, Founder and Executive Director, Wild Survivors

Make no mistake, there is far more than wood in a forest. Trees absorb carbon, act as water purifiers, serve as nests and homes. They also feed caterpillars and breed seeds that others in the vastly diverse forest community enjoy and need. The Ngombé forest is home to Indigenous Peoples and local communities with an estimated 18,000 inhabitants (2019 census). They live  in and from the forest, collecting medicinal plants, fishing and hunting for their livelihood and producing and selling non-timber forest products such as honey, mushrooms, fruits and caterpillars.

«To preserve our forests, we need to recognize their multiple values and develop financial instruments that include the true total value of forest systems,» says Tom van Loon, INTERHOLCO’s Head of Sustainability. «At INTERHOLCO, we aim to entice investors on serious business, not one-off solutions. »

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INTERHOLCO's stand in the Nature Pavilion (NOAH). Mr. Tom van Loon, IHC's Head of Sustainability (right) illustrates forest protection in the framework of IHC's participation in WWF's Forests Forward 

Earlier last year, Interholco became the first forestry company in the Congo Basin to get its positive impact on biodiversity conservation verified via FSC ecosystem services certification.

As 2023 drew to a close, INTERHOLCO took the Ngombé forest, part of WWF’s Forests Forward, to NOAH’s Nature Pavilion, hosted in Zurich from 13 through 14 December.

A QR code connected NOAH’s visitors to the Ngombé forest site on Explorer.Land. This platform, powered by Open Forests, hosts several projects showcased as nature-based solutions. Investors and any interested visitors have the freedom to follow the pulse of a given project in real time, whilst checking on the health of the forest landscape back and forth along a timeline.

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Drone view of the Sangha river flowing through the Ngombé forest

NOAH was indeed a 3.0 ark, where AI-powered platforms, bioacoustics monitoring, carbon removals coupled to biodiversity protection made it clear that, where there's a will, there's a way.

«Together with WWF, we are looking to drive real, lasting change that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives and the health of our natural world,» reinforced Tom van Loon.

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INTERHOLCO is a proud participant in WWF's Forests Forward

Be bold and join us on this International Day of Forests – direct vitally important investment to protect and save the Ngombé forest ecosystem, from the most imperceptible forest tweet to silverback gorillas!

Contact us today: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Interholco

Founded in 1962, INTERHOLCO (IHC) delivers African, European and North American hardwood products (lumber, logs, decking, laminated scantlings) to B2B customers in more than 40 countries worldwide. Recognized as a sustainability leader, IHC responsibly manages 1.16 million hectares of natural rainforest in the Republic of Congo, turning harvested wood into high-value timber products that serve customer needs, as well as improving our climate and increasing social justice. IHC is the first forestry company in the Congo Basin to have acquired FSC Ecosystem Services certification, for biodiversity protection on top of FSC Forest Management certification (Forest Stewardship Council, FSC® C022952). Follow us on LinkedIn

Communication contact Interholco

Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal
INTERHOLCO AG, Neuhofstr. 25, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0)41 767 03 82 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

Sustainability report 2022

INTERHOLCO Sustainability Report 2022 cover

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