Transforming markets: Forests

Madeira certificada pelo FSC © WWF
Wood and construction companies in São Paolo – Brazil’s most industrialized and populous state – have committed to use only legal and certified wood, in a move which strongly supports WWF’s call for sustainable management of commercial forests in the Amazon basin.

The state consumes 16 per cent of the 16 million m3 of Amazonian timber produced annually in Brazil. The area of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests in China has passed the one million ha mark, and the most recent FSC certification is in WWF’s priority Amur-Heilong ecoregion.

In total, more than 110 million ha of forests are FSC-certified worldwide in 88 countries, representing seven percent of the world’s production forests, and generating sales worth US$20 billion.

Transforming markets: Marine

WWF and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are working to raise the profile of sustainable seafood products and practices. © WWF
The news that the Russian Walleye Pollock fishery in the Bering Sea, plus Norwegian Barents Sea cod and Chilean hake, have entered the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification process means that significantly more than 50 percent of the total world whitefish fishery is now certified or in process.

Also going for certification is the Ecuador/Peru mahi-mahi fishery.

The MSC is picking up speed in certifying environmentally responsible and sustainable fisheries, and in driving transformational change.

Globally, 42 fisheries are certified and over 100 are seeking certification. The global market for MSC-labelled products doubled to reach a retail value of almost US$1 billion.

Transforming markets: Freshwater

Peul (Wodaabe) lady filling waterskins in temporary pool, Central Niger. © WWF
In 2009, WWF became a founding member of the Water Footprint Network, a group of 50 partners committed to reducing impacts of crop and commodity production on the world’s most critical freshwater habitats. The network will standardize wise water use methods across business and set the standards for water standards, stewardship and disclosure.

Members range from Nestlé, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever to the Swiss Development Cooperation. In October 2008, Coca-Cola announced ambitious new targets to improve water efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable agriculture to help conserve some of the world’s most important river basins.

Reducing agriculture’s footprint

Palm oil (Sawi palm) plantation, harvest. Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia © WWF
WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative coincided with the arrival in Europe of the first certified palm oil shipment – the beginning of a move away from clearance of tropical forests to grow oil palm.

The shipment is compliant with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria to ensure production is socially and environmentally responsible.

The roundtables on two of WWF’s priority commodities, the Better Cotton and Better Sugarcane Initiatives, published draft global standards.

Companies sourcing products meeting these standards will measurably reduce their water footprint and the impacts of fertilizer and pesticides on the environment.

Smart fishing

Trawlers in the North East Atlantic. Certain fishing gear directly damages habitats and species. © WWF
Following on the successful halving of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the Barents Sea, the Government of Norway has negotiated powerful terms for EU fishing fleets to access Arctic cod in Norwegian waters.

The EU has agreed much stronger conditions to reduce amounts of fish discarded, to implement gear change to avoid bycatch, and protect spawning cod.

A major grouping of the world’s tuna industry representing half of canned tuna has, together with the marine science community and WWF, jointly founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation to achieve long-term conservation and wise use of tuna stocks, reduce bycatch and promote ecosystem health.

Sustainable aquaculture products on the menu

 © WWF
WWF has helped establish the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), to independently certify environmentally responsible and sustainable aquaculture farms.

The ASC will raise standards in the industry and give consumers a guarantee they can purchase products such as mussels, shrimp and trout in a way that does not damage the environment.

Progress on bycatch in the coral triangle

Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares). The world’s tuna fisheries are worth around US$5.8 billion per year. © WWF
Prompted by a WWF report detailing the huge loss of juvenile yellowfin tuna as bycatch within skipjack tuna fisheries, the Government of the Philippines has drafted legislation to prevent this unnecessary destruction.

Overfishing of coral fish such as groupers and wrasse for consumption in Asian restaurants is a major threat.

However, in an important move the Palawan Live Reef Fish Trade Alliance of Philippines has agreed to reduce annual quotas from 700 tonnes currently down to a sustainable 140 tonnes by 2011.

Safeguarding the marine environment

TBT has been shown to cause sex changes in dog whelks. © WWF
In September 2008 a global ban on tributyltin (TBT) – one of the most toxic chemicals deliberately released into the sea -  entered into force.

An international convention on the control of harmful anti-fouling systems obliges signatory countries to ensure no vessels using hull paints containing TBT and similar toxic chemicals go under their flags or call at their ports.

WWF lobbied for the ban on TBT for a decade.

Living Planet Report

Living Planet Report (LPR) front cover 2008 © WWF
The launch of WWF’s seventh Living Planet Report (LPR) in 13 languages gained more than 1,800 media stories in 50 countries, from Nepal to Qatar, and from Malawi to China.

The core message – that we are continuing to use the Earth’s renewable resources at an unsustainable rate – warned that humanity is approaching an “ecological credit crunch” and the report outlined solutions for avoiding this.

Linking closely with concerns over the global financial crisis, the LPR was covered widely in the business media.

Towards a greener China

WWF-China © WWF
The China for a Global Shift initiative supports China in adapting development and growth within the ecological limits of one planet.

Following on the first-ever report on China’s Ecological Footprint, published mid-2008, WWF sponsored a high-level conference where top Chinese environmental and banking institutions confirmed the country’s commitment to address its environmental impact.

WWF is helping China’s banking sector develop environmentally sound lending policies.

A first analysis of sustainable banking in China, jointly issued by the Peoples’ Bank of China and WWF, highlights the potential for the financial services sector to channel investment to help the country transit towards sustainability.

International freshwater conservation treaties

Development without environmental protection will result in millions of poor people watching helplessly as the natural systems on which they depend are destroyed over time. Serepok River, Vietnam. © WWF
WWF made effective use of the World Water Forum, held in Turkey in March 2009, to advance the signing and ratification of the UN Transboundary Rivers Convention.

Together with the Ramsar Convention, this underpins joint sustainable management of transboundary rivers.

The Convention has 16 signatory countries and requires a further 19 to enter into force.

A high level event to recognise the leadership and example of the signatory countries mobilized a further 14 countries to commit their support for the Convention.

Achieving zero net deforestation

A reforestation day with volunteers team © WWF
Following the commitment to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, announced at the World Conservation Congress, Paraguay has extended its Forest Conversion Moratorium by a further five years, and committed to compensate forest owners who maintain forest cover through payment for environment services.

Similarly, in February 2009 Argentina passed a new forest law to stop massive forest conversion to agriculture and implement payments for environmental services.

This would greatly benefit Argentina’s one million ha of Atlantic Forests, a WWF priority place shared with Paraguay and Brazil. Provincial zoning plans are being developed to identify which of Argentina’s 33 million ha of forest must be protected or managed sustainably.