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WWF launches global ‘Forests Forward’ program to connect businesses and nature

Energize Editors

Energize Editors

Today World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched “Forests Forward,” a new program that engages with companies and other stakeholders around the globe to deliver effective nature-based strategies for forests that help achieve their business and sustainability goals.

Working together, WWF and participating businesses aim to realize meaningful, long-term benefits for nature, climate and people. Companies in Forests Forward will also gain a better understanding of how to mitigate sourcing, climate and social risks while demonstrating leadership and building resilient supply chains for the future.

To date, five of the world’s foremost companies have signed on as Forests Forward participants in the United States. They include HP Inc.; International Paper Company; Kimberly-Clark; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; and Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a groundswell of ambition from companies that want to take action for forests to deliver on their nature and climate commitments,” said Kerry Cesareo, WWF’s senior vice president for forests. “What’s needed is the guidance to pair this ambition with meaningful actions to reduce companies’ footprints and provide landscape opportunities grounded in science and respect for local communities. That’s what Forests Forward aims to do. The program gives companies opportunities to scale up action on forests and confront some of the biggest threats facing our planet today. And these actions are not one-off solutions. They drive real, lasting change that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives and the health of our natural world.”

The Forests Forward program focuses on three pillars for engagement:

  • Landscape Opportunities for Nature, Climate and Communities. For companies seeking to enhance the health of forests, contribute to climate solutions and improve community well-being, WWF provides unique opportunities to support rigorous nature-based solutions in critically important forest landscapes around the world to deliver these benefits. Examples of these landscapes include Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; Sabah, Malaysia; and the southeastern United States; among others.
  • Responsible Supply Chains for the Future. WWF helps businesses design and implement responsible supply chain strategies for companies with product or packaging sourcing that can impact forests.
  • Improved Forest Management. WWF works with businesses that manage forests to implement strategies that boost those forests’ ability to sustain biodiversity, benefit global climate and support local communities.

Forests Forward also offers regular access to WWF scientific experts, peer-to-peer interactions, and opportunities to learn about important forest issues and support public policies that benefit forests.

Forests are essential to life on Earth, yet they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. In fact, a recent WWF report found that an area roughly the size of California was lost to deforestation in the tropics and subtropics between 2004 and 2017. The new Forests Forward program is central to WWF’s mission to stop deforestation and forest degradation and protect biodiversity while promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Along with the five companies headquartered in the United States, the first set of businesses signing up for the Forests Forward global program includes major market actors IKEA, Mandarin Oriental and Sofidel Spa, alongside companies operating in important forest producing countries: The ALPI Group, Bois et Scierie du Gabon (BSG), Companie des Bois du Gabon, Gabon Wood Industry (GWI), Gabonaise d’Exploitation de Bois (GEB), Interholco, The Navigator Company, The New Forests Company, Stora Enso Oyj., Suzano S/A and Veracel.

Businesses interested in joining Forests Forward can contact forestsforward@wwfus.org to learn more.

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