National Geographic Educates Importance of Forest Certification

Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer
National Geographic Society

Earlier this month I had an opportunity to speak at The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Global Sustainability Summit in Seattle, WA.  Over 400 sustainability leaders in the food, beverage and grocery industry attended the event.  The Global Summit brought together leading experts to address sustainability topics such as packaging and waste, education, innovation and sustainable supply chain management.  I co-presented along with Jason Metnick, SFI Inc, during the concurrent interactive workshops on Thursday afternoon.  The presentation focused on the Forest Partners Program, and the importance of forest certification when sourcing paper and packaging products.

As I stated in this forest conservation video last April, The National Geographic Society is a Forest Partner, and a supporter of the SFI program, because we believe strongly that we, as publishers, have a role to play in encouraging responsible forestry practices.  By participating in forest certification we hope to send a clear signal that we are a responsible corporate citizen.  The Forest Partners Program allows us to collaborate with other market leaders like Time Inc, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson to find cost effective ways to increase the amount of SFI certified forests in the Southeast United States.  With only about 20% of the timberland certified in the United States, the goal of certifying 10 million acres of forest in the United States by the end of 2017 represents the perfect opportunity for us to walk the talk when it comes to the National Geographic Society’s sustainable procurement policy.

Over the next few weeks SFI will announce progress with the Forest Partners Program.  I encourage other buyers of forest products to specify that those be made from certified forests, and I urge all of you who wish to be sustainable in your operations to join us in the forest certification endeavor.

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