Do you know where in the world your wooden bedroom furniture has come from?
No? You are not alone.
WWF’s research for the ‘What Wood You Choose?’ campaign has discovered that there are still some companies that are knowingly selling wood that could be illegally logged trees from rainforests!
Colin Butfield, WWF’s head of campaigns, said: “This study should act as a wake up call to companies here in the UK and highlight to the consumer that they are the ones with the power to demand that whatever they’re buying, from doors to kitchen worktops, is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. If it doesn’t have the FSC logo then it could originate from a place where there have been devastating impacts on species such as the orang-utan and communities that earn a living from the forest.”
Why does illegal logging happen?
There are many laws in place to protect the rainforest, but many trees are still cut down illegally.
There are two types of illegal logging. The first is by the local people who have do not have very much money and need wood to cook their food and to build their houses. The second kind of illegal logging is on a much bigger scale by unethical companies, destroying large areas of rainforest. Because there is such a high demand for wood and land, people are still willing to risk being caught to make money out the forest.
How can we stop illegal logging?
Letting local people manage the rainforest is one of the best ways to protect it. They need sustainable ways of using the resources of the forest to earn enough money to live. This could be rubber tapping, honey farming, guarana growing or Brazil nut gathering.
Large scale illegal logging can only be stopped by making sure that all wood and paper products are bought and sold from legal sources. But because illegally logged wood is much cheaper, people often chose these illegal wood and paper products rather than more sustainable and legal ones. Over 16% of wood imported into the EU is thought to be from illegal or suspicious sources. Many of us are buying illegal wood and paper without realising!
What products can I buy to stop illegal logging?
We can stop buying products that support the destructive illegal timber trade and start buying things that help protect the rainforest. Looking for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper label is a great place to start.
If you are trying to decide which challenge you should take and are worried about where the paper and wood products come from in your school choose the Stuff We Use Challenge. This will teach you all about the importance of FSC certification and how to recognise the logo. It will also help you create a Pitch to Switch in your school so you know that all your paper and wood products come from legal and rainforest-friendly sources!
Watch our short film to see why choosing FSC is good for forests, people and wildlife. www.wwf.org.uk/woodreport
To read other previous gazette articles click here.