Timber Retail Coalition Formed
Just Forests welcomes announcement that leading retailers form Timber Retail Coalition
20th April 2010
On the 6th April 2010, Kingfisher plc, Carrefour, IKEA and Marks & Spencer launched the Timber Retail Coalition (TRC) to urge the European Council and Parliament to agree regulation to control the illegal timber and wood products trade within the EU by the end of 2010.
According to Tom Roche of Just Forests, “an estimated 60% of all timber entering Ireland is deemed to be illegally-logged with enormous negative consequences for people, animals and plants.”
Few recognise that biological diversity (which includes all living things) represents the natural wealth of the Earth. It provides the basis for life, economic development and prosperity for the whole of mankind.
But, biodiversity is currently vanishing at an alarming rate all over the world. According to Stavros Dimas, EU Commissioner for Environment, “we are, so to speak, erasing nature’s hard drive without even knowing what data it contains.” 1
Here in Ireland the giant British retailer B&Q has a significant trade in timber and wood-based products. B&Q is the largest DIY retailer in Europe, the largest in China and the third largest in the world, behind The Home Depot and Lowe’s. It is a subsidiary of the retail group Kingfisher plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange
Illegal logging is a key threat to official efforts to control deforestation. At present, illegal logging accounts for over a tenth of the global timber trade - some $15bn worth of products every year - contributing to global deforestation and climate change. By definition, the scale of the problem is difficult to calculate precisely, but it is estimated that more than half of all logging activities in the most vulnerable forest regions may be conducted illegally.
The world's forests contain more carbon than the atmosphere – an estimated 638 billion tonnes. If this carbon were released, it would be equivalent to roughly 90 years of global carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement production (based on the average yearly global emissions from 2000-2005). Much of the world's forest carbon is locked up in tropical forests, which contain 45% of all aboveground terrestrial biomass. 2
Building on the voluntary measures to which its members have long been committed, the TRC supports the European Commission's efforts to create workable EU wide regulation this year.
Just Forests welcomes such industry led initiatives and hopes that this regulation will help to create a level playing field, which currently does not exist as the illegally logged timber and wood-based products used by industry still has easy access to the EU marketplace.
1. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report. European Communities, 2008.
2. Vested Interests – Industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests. Global Witness report-June 2009
Both the above referenced reports are available here for [download]
Tom Roche can be contacted on Mobile: 086 8049389