In 2015 the United Nations issued the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as its central element covering a wide range of social, economic and ecological development issues. Within the SDG, protecting biodiversity and guaranteeing the livelihoods of the local population are addressed as priorities and aspirations for 2030. Precious Woods through its certified and sustainable activities in the Congo Basin and Amazonas rainforest is a strong contributor to these Sustainable Development Goals.
Moreover, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) does underline in its 2015 Paris Agreement the fact that practicing sustainable forest management is important for limiting climate change and its impacts.
For more details visit: www.sdgcompass.org/sdgs
Some more details on the connection between Certified and Sustainable Forest Management and the Sustainable Development Goals:
Certification standards 1)
Precious Woods' impact
Certificate holders’ contributions to poverty reduction are often more substantial in situations where people live in certified forests. Rules require the payment of reasonable, ‘living’ wages, training, the protection of forest workers, and agreements with local populations that guarantee they share in the benefits of forest management.
With more than 1 300 employees in rural areas and a total of 53 communities surrounding our forest area, Precious Woods is responsible for more than 15 000 people’s income and living standard.
The salary level is higher than the minimum wages and in most case no other employment would be possible.
A profit sharing program is also in place and will be distributed in form of social projects or an amount per cubic meter harvested to guarantee a fair split.
Forests can play an important role in complementing agricultural production to address Goal 2 of zero hunger. For example, forests and trees can be managed to provide better and more nutritionally balanced diets, greater control over food inputs – particularly during lean seasons and periods of vulnerability, and especially for marginalized groups – and deliver ecosystem services for crop production.
We don’t have agriculture production in our area, except one cocoa plantation in Gabon in favour of the communities. But we offer to use products from our forests like seeds, resins, timber and organize courses for the communities in handcrafts and food processing. This goes very much along SDG #2.
Healthy living conditions and the promotion of the well-being of all, at all ages, are an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development. For this reason, certification supports the health of employees and ensures all necessary measures to promote occupational safety and health.
Certified companies must support their employees with specific training and supervision to guarantee their safety in all areas of forest management and wood processing.
Our safety officers and their teams ensure the continuous training of our employees and their appropriate equipment.
In addition to our commitment to the working environment, we are also concerned about the general health of our employees and their families. In Gabon, for example, they have access to three infirmaries and a doctor. Regular HIV prevention campaigns and measures against malaria are also part of our commitment.
In Brazil, our employees and their families are given preferential access to public health services and can also benefit from consultations with our medical advisors.
Certified forests companies often include better schools for the children of forest workers as part of their certification. As a result, certification helps many children in forest areas around the world to obtain an education.
In some areas the education of people is supported through our infrastructure. For example, in Gabon we maintain a kindergarten and a primary school with more than 800 scholars and we provide housing for the teaching staff. We do also support the secondary education through cooperation with local universities.
In both countries we train our employees continuously in their daily work and increase competences.
Standards define gender equality as women and men having “equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and for contributing to, and benefiting from, economic, social, cultural and political development”.
As a principle within Precious Woods women and men have the same conditions when it comes to salaries and all other working conditions.
Certification bodies, with their ecosystem approach, contribute, within the scope of certified areas on efficient and sustainable water use, on integrated water resource management, and on the protection of water-related ecosystems.
Foresters are obliged to avoid negative impacts on water quality and quantity, and mitigate and remedy those that occur.
In the forest we do avoid any negative impact on water courses. This is guaranteed by sound and deliberate planning of road construction and harvesting operations based on detailed inventories.
We supply the camps with fresh and filtered water for more than 5 000 people.
Wood is an important source of energy. Globally, 2.6 billion people depend on wood energy, with a large proportion of these living in developing countries. The lack of alternative energy sources, combined with the growth in urban population is driving up the demand for wood energy.
Precious Woods is not producing charcoal or pellets but uses the biomass from sawmills to produce electricity. This accounts for the time being in the Amazon but another project in Gabon is in place.
As electricity normally is produced by diesel generators the savings by using the biomass power plant accounts to approx. 12 000 000 litres of diesel per year.
The use of wood as an environmentally and socially sound resource actively contributes to sustainable economic development. In terms of resource efficiency, FSC foresees that the use of wood will increase, replacing unsustainable materials such as concrete, steel, and oil.
Precious Woods is managing some 1 100 000 ha of tropical forest sustainably in a cycle of 25 in Gabon and 35 years in Brazil. With an average harvesting volume of 12m3/ha/year the recovery of the forest is guaranteed for generations but limits also the amount of timber to be produced for the market. Therefore, we are looking for additional concession areas to increase the volumes but also take the responsibility to protect natural forest by using it sustainably.
Infrastructure – especially transport and energy– are crucial to achieving sustainable development.
Inclusive industrial development is the primary source of income generation and allows sustained increases in living standards for all people.
We are providing road maintenance and electricity to all our camps in Gabon and we are supplying the Brazilian city of Itacoatiara with green energy form our cogeneration plant.
We are constantly investing in our transformation units to increase the creation of local added value and thus employment and development.
The production side requires management practices that maintain the resource base while harvesting forest materials and providing services.
With a scientific based inventory of our forests we guarantee the natural recovery of the forest after harvesting.
The road planning is based on that inventory which includes water courses as well as altitudes to enable to have as less impact as possible.
Forests play an essential role in climate regulation. Together with oceans, forests are the key ecosystem that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) – the most damaging greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere. Carbon is stored in both trees and forest soils, and the world’s forests contain roughly as much carbon as the atmosphere.
In its forests Precious Woods maintains a carbon stock of some 330 000 000 tons.
As to studies from universities (performed in the Amazon) the growth of tree biomass in sustainably managed areas is 3m3/ha/year where in just protected areas it is only 1m3/ha/year.
Implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
Although a sustainable forest management has its impact on forest by creating roads the outweighing positive impact is that deforestation will be prevented.
Moreover, the main roads can be used for several cycles where the secondary roads are either recovered or mapped to reuse the same road during the next harvesting cycle.
Besides protecting the forest, certified and sustainable forest management does actively promote and protect biodiversity, as hunting is regulated, poaching is hindered and the natural composition of our forest is maintained.
Through its three chamber governance model - representing environmental, economic and social interests - its multi-stakeholder approach and the Chain-of-Custody standards covering the entire supply chain, certification enables collaboration and equality amongst a wide range of stakeholders – the basis for achieving sustainable development.
Precious Woods was the first company in Brazil but also in Gabon who achieved the FSC certification. The continuous improvements of the standards are performed together with environmental and social partners.
Since end of 2017/early 2018 the whole group is also certified to PEFC/PAFC standards.
With more than 20 years’ experience in certified and sustainable forest management Precious Woods works actively together with several NGOs to increase the quality of its work continuously even above certification standards.
1) Statements from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)