Sao Paulo's industry commits to legal wood use to protect Amazon

Posted on 18 March 2009  | 
Wood and construction companies in Sao Paulo -- Brazil’s most industrialised and populous state -- have committed themselves to the use of legal and certified wood in a move which could help preserve the country’s vast endangered forests.

Under the agreement brokered with help of WWF Brazil and Sao Paulo’s authorities, these businesses will develop mechanisms which demand from their suppliers to acquire wood in compliance with environmental legislation and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

“The project involves training buyers on how to identify the origin of wood they are purchasing, working to eliminate illegal wood and to increase certified wood from their suppliers,” says WWF-Brazil’s CEO, Mrs. Denise Hamú. The Legal Timber Commitment also aims to develop studies and sustainable products adequate to the construction.

The voluntary agreement, called the Legal Timber Commitment, has been signed by dozens of companies operating within the state of Sao Paulo, plus representatives from the government and third sector.
The state and municipal government will also commit themselves to buy wood only from legal or certified sources.

The state consumes 15 percent of the 16 million m3 of Amazonian timber produced annually in Brazil, of which 70 percent is used for construction.

“We are doing our part in sustainable environmental preservation. We will disseminate the environmental legislation and the guidelines for the responsible consumption of wood to the construction companies and their suppliers,” said Sergio Watanabe, the president of SindusCon-SP, Brazil’s largest association of construction companies.

Brazil’s Amazon forests, where most of the tropical wood is acquired from, are endangered by both climate change and deforestation. Reducing deforestation is, according to scientists, one of the cheapest ways to fight global warming.

The agreement encourages using certified wood, which does not degrade the environment and contributes to the social and economic development of local communities.

The certification process guarantees forest maintenance by reducing the impact of logging and securing a long-term economic viability of the activity. A sustainable exploitation of forests helps to reduce waste and enables financial benefits.
Wood and construction companies in Sao Paulo have committed themselves to the use of legal and certified wood.
© Mark EDWARDS/WWF-Canon Enlarge

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