WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 /PR Newswire/ -- The World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the launch of the Forest Legality Risk Information Tool, an open-access global information website designed to assist purchasers of forest products in securing fiber from legal sources. The risk tool, a project of the Forest Legality Alliance, was partly funded by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®(SFI®) through its Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. The tool is also supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
'Our hope is that the information in this tool will make it easier and cheaper to examine forest product supply chains and improve transparency in the marketplace,' stated Adam Grant, WRI Senior Associate. 'We are pleased to be working with SFI and other partners to raise awareness and equip participants in forest product supply chains with practical, interactive and freely accessible tools so they can exercise due care and keep illegally harvested forest products out of the market.'
Illegal logging is a critical international issue, one that represents a major concern for buyers of forest products worldwide. Reports estimate that illegal activities may account for more than one tenth of the total global timber trade, representing products worth at least $15 billion a year. The United States and the European Union, the two largest consumers of imported forest products, have both passed legislation to ban the importation of forest products that were illegally harvested in their country of origin.
'SFI chain of custody and fiber sourcing requirements require that program participants assess and address risks of offshore fiber from controversial sources such as illegal harvesting operations,' said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. 'The WRI risk tool will help our program participants ask the right questions to get the information they need to make informed and responsible purchasing decisions.'
The risk tool, available at http://www.forestlegality.org/risk-tool, provides details about where forest products come from and what issues a buyer might encounter. The tool allows searching by country or species to find specific information. Future additions to the tool will provide interactive supply chain profiling tools, such as decision trees.
About the World Resources Institute
The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research to find practical ways to protect the earth and improve people's lives. Our mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. For more information about WRI, please visit www.wri.org.
About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
SFI Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program (www.sfiprogram.org). Across North America, more than 195 million acres/79 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single forest standard in the world.
SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative