17.01.2019. A change of heart is what tropical forests need. That is, if their unique biodiversity is to continue thriving; if precious services such as water cycle, rain regime and climate regulation are to be ensured for the planet and, if millions are to enjoy a peaceful life right where they live, i.e. in the natural forests of the Congo Basin - one of the world’s most precious wonders.

Trends, issues and challenges

So far, there is still too little recognition of the holistic benefits provided by certified forest companies operating in the tropics. Not only do they positively manage natural tropical forests including wildlife, but also introduce much needed infrastructure  in the regions they operate in (schools, health-care facilities, drinking water, electricity in rural areas), along with  development projects. That is precisely where the ‘Fair&Precious’ engagements, launched at the end of 2018, fit in.

This awareness led ATIBT, an NGO established in Paris in 1962 as the reference body for tropical timber, to convene an invitation-only event in Nogent-sur-Marne, from 8 to 10 January 2019. Attracting over 50 participants, the meeting created a 360-degree view of the trends, issues and challenges facing forest companies, consulting firms, academics, NGOs, banks and donors - all the way to the public sector, architects and designers and certification bodies. 

Some highlights of the most urgent topics that each concerned party will need to consider in the coming year:

  • Banks and funding institutes increasingly recognize and help co-fund the private sector’s  efforts to implement sustainable practices, as shown by the latter’s ESG performance indicators
  • Incentives should be devised to reward responsible forest companies that are fully certified, setting an example motivating other companies to upgrade their policies and practices
  • The difference between companies that manage natural tropical forests on a purely legal basis and forest companies adhering to the ‘Fair&Precious’ engagements, while integrating all relevant sustainability issues, is enormous. Companies engaged to the Fair&Precious values do not only respect the regulatory framework, but also protect the environment and give the local communities the means to explore their future needs. End consumers, public authorities in consuming countries and NGOs want to be made aware of this more and more
  • Effective messages will be based even more on publicly available, sound scientific arguments
  • Architects, designers and the public sector need to be informed a lot more about the remarkable properties of African wood species, including lesser known ones

Interested in learning more about the next concrete steps?

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Since 1962, INTERHOLCO is serving an international clientele with high-quality hardwood – Made in Africa.

With annual sales of about EUR 65 Mio., the Swiss-based INTERHOLCO is one of the leading international suppliers of sustainable hardwood, from sourcing and processing to high quality hardwood products: logs, lumber, laminated scantlings and more. In addition to three processing sawmills, large kiln facilities, a lamination and planing mill, INTERHOLCO manages an FSC-certified 1.1 million ha forest concession in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), employing a diverse dedicated global workforce of about 1’000 people. INTERHOLCO serves over 50 countries world-wide, from importers to industrial end-users.

INTERHOLCO is committed to making sustainably harvested timber from Africa the norm, as a renewable material that improves people’s livelihoods in the region and protects the forest and its precious wildlife. INTERHOLCO supports the Fair&Precious initiative in its goal to increase market recognition of sustainable hardwood from Africa based on technical, environmental and sustainability considerations.

Communications contact INTERHOLCO

Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal

INTERHOLCO AG, Schutzengelstr. 36, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0)41 767 03 82 

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