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VIA initiative to support the development of methodology for assessing the impacts of FSC forest management certification

The VIA Initiative

LONDON, 2014-9-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — By 2050 we’re likely to need three times more wood than we do today, yet forests are fighting for their lives as the ground they stem from is being sought for alternative uses.

The key to keeping forests standing is to make them viable so they can compete with alternative land uses that require them cleared.  Sustainable wood extraction as a forest conservation strategy has long been recognised as one way to achieve this.

That’s why today, a unique collaboration called VIA (Value and Impact Analysis) is being announced – to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber and clarify the role of FSC certification in the delivery of these values.  The two-year VIA initiative from three founding business partners Kingfisher, IKEA and Tetra Pak, is supported by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance.  The collaborators will support the development of a methodology for assessing the impacts of FSC forest management certification and the piloting of this methodology in selected areas.

In the last two decades The FSC has achieved great things but getting this level of certification to scale has proved difficult.  WWF, for example, estimates around two-thirds of the 400 million hectares of production forest in the tropics are operating without a sustainable management plan.  So, as the upward trend for more wood continues and pressures to clear forests for alternative use increase – there’s never been a more pressing time to get sustainable forestry management to scale.

To do it though, we need to demonstrate in which ways certification contributes to better management of the world’s forests, so that businesses and consumers understand the value and then create demand for certified timber.

This collated impact data will enable businesses to see the value they add by specifying FSC certified timber and paper through their procurement policies.  The initiative is independent from the FSC but is designed to be useful to the organisation, by providing a tool that will show the contribution it makes to the social, environmental and economic values of the world’s forests.  The learning from the initiative will also be shared with other sectors beyond forestry that are covered by more than 20 certification schemes who are members of ISEAL.

Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability Director for Kingfisher plc, launching the collaboration at the FSC’s 20th anniversary General Assembly in Seville, Spain, said: 

“Our forests are fighting for their lives.  As a human being I care about the environmental and the social impacts that is having but as a retailer I also understand the devastating impacts of supply insecurity.  The business community can help reverse the deforestation spiral by getting behind sustainable forestry management so that we can get it to scale. That’s why we’ve formed this collaboration. We believe business can be a force for good in keeping forests standing but to do that they need to understand the value of certification and sustainable forestry management.  That’s why there’s a pressing need for this collaboration and the business-ready analysis we’re focused on developing.”


For further information please contact Annabel Ward or Suzi Smith on 0207 896 3214 or email 

Notes to Editors 

Kingfisher, IKEA, and Tetra Pak are co-building a methodology for collating impact data related to the FSC certification scheme. The two-year initiative, which runs from September 2014 to 2016 will be coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance who will convene and facilitate the group’s activities, provide certification impacts expertise and share the learning across other schemes.

A method for compiling and packaging existing impacts data for one sector into clear messages doesn’t currently exist.  Partners will consult forest experts and communities in this work and the methodology will also be peer-reviewed.  The partners will also work together to firm up the linkages between the collected data and what might be the best ways to communicate the information to consumers, employees and other stakeholders.

The Founding Partners would love to hear from new backers wishing to support the collaboration.  IDH has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing 120,000€ towards the initiative.

The announcement of the initiative took place at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the FSC at their General Assembly in Seville in Spain. The FSC was born 20 years ago this week as a market mechanism to promote the benefits of legal, responsibly sourced, sustainable timber through its certification.  The FSC Forest Management certification, is widely recognised as the best way to enable foresters to fell trees in a sustainable way – making their forests commercially viable in the short-term whilst protecting their long-term health.

Well-managed forests make wood a perfect material – it’s renewable, recoverable and bio-degradable.  Wood can be substituted for many less sustainable, non-renewable alternatives and has a very long life. Forests also sequester large amounts of carbon.

WWFs Living Forest Model projects that by 2050 wood removal will be three times the volume that was reported in 2010 – mainly driven by wood as a feedstock for bio-energy.
About FSC
FSC is the world’s strongest certification system, in terms of global reach, robustness of certification criteria and number of businesses involved in the system. FSC has 28,000 certificate holders in 81 countries worldwide, working with 150,000 smallholders around the world and increasingly working with indigenous groups. In 2013, FSC formed the Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee to ensure that indigenous people have a say in the way forests are managed.  For more information please visit

About IDH
IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative aims to up-scale and accelerate sustainable trade by building impact oriented coalitions of front running multinationals, civil society organizations, governments and other stakeholders. IDH receives donor funds from the Dutch (€ 125 million for the period 2011-2015 to match fund private investments in sustainable market transformation in 18 commodity sectors.), Swiss (€ 24.5 million for a strategic four-year partnership) and Danish (€ 1.2 million for cotton and coffee programs) governments.

About IKEA
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 27 countries. In 2013, the IKEA Group had 135,000 co-workers, 684 million visitors to its stores and 1.3 billion visitors to For more information, please visit

About ISEAL Alliance
ISEAL Alliance is the backbone organisation for the sustainability standards and certification movement, representing the leading and most credible multi-stakeholder standards systems that are operating today at an internal scale.  ISEAL brings together the leading sustainability standards systems in the world, across a diverse range of sectors, with an overall aim to collectively and individually demonstrate and increase the positive sustainability impacts of these organisations and their standards.

About Kingfisher plc
Kingfisher plc is Europe’s largest home improvement retail group and the third largest in the world, with over 1,130 stores in nine countries in Europe and Asia.  Employing more than 70,000 staff its main retail brands are B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix.  Kingfisher also has a 50% joint venture business in Turkey with Koç Group. B&Q was a founding member of the FSC more than two decades ago.  Kingfisher’s restorative approach to business, called Net Positive, sees it redesigning itself to have a positive impact on the world and it is already included in two of the main socially responsible investment indexes – the FTSE4Good and Dow Jones Sustainability indexes.

About Tetra Pak
Tetra Pak is the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with our customers and suppliers, we provide safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world. With more than 23,000 employees based in over 80 countries, we believe in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business.  Our motto, “PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD™,” reflects our vision to make food safe and available, everywhere. The FSC licence code for Tetra Pak is FSC™ C014047. More information about Tetra Pak is available at

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