Kährs first to support and purchase FSC and Fairtrade dual-labelled timber

Published:  06 June, 2011

CHILE: Europe’s largest wood flooring manufacturer, Kährs is the first company to confirm its commitment to a new timber pilot in Chile. As part of the world first co-operative pilot, dual-labelled timber will now be available which meets both FSC and Fairtrade certification standards.

The pilot restores hope to the depressed region, in the Curacautin Valley, where timber stocks have now recovered sufficiently to help provide a sustainable living to people in the area, based on fair trade and responsible forest management principles. Kährs new dual-labelled floors will be available from later this year.

 

One of the first regions in Chile to re-establish its native forest, the Curacautin Valley has – as part of the pilot - put into place responsible forestry regulations and rights for the indigenous people. On the initiative of SSC Forestry Group of Sweden, a new sawmill has been built in Curacautin, the local community has been provided with forest education and a group of small forest farmers has been organized to manage the forest resources in a sustainable way. The project coincides with the United Nations General Assembly ‘s ‘2011 International Year of Forests’ which will raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and development of all types of forests.

Prior to depletion of Chile’s timber stocks, one thousand employees and their families were dependent upon the valley’s former sawmill, which was constructed in the early 20th Century. Forest mismanagement led to large scale unemployment, landscape alterations, caused changes in water flow, destroyed wildlife habitats and negatively affected the livelihoods of the Mapuche people.

Having both FSC and Fairtrade certification will provide incentives, including market access, fair pricing and the Fairtrade Premium. This will, in turn, provide additional funds to invest in social, economic and development projects, benefitting local farmers, workers in the forest and saw mills, as well as local communities.

Per Skårner, Kährs chief executive officer, commented, “We’re proud to be the first company, globally, to support this initiative. The project demonstrates that the land has more value as a working forest, rather than other non-sustainable alternatives; our hope is that we can help alleviate poverty and restore biodiversity by offering the first flooring made of FSC-Fairtrade certified wood in the world.

Mr Skårner continued, “Moving forwards, we very much hope that other companies, that share our common values of respect for nature and people, will partner up with us in this important corporate social responsibility project.”

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