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WRI launches online tool to fight illegal logging

Illegal logging in Thailand. Photo: Frank Hutson Gregory
Illegal logging in Thailand. Photo: Frank Hutson Gregory
Published by
Simon Matthis - 28 Jun 2012

 The World Resources Institute (WRI) recently 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.