- Danzer Group, a leading global producer of hardwood veneer and lumber, is seeking to complete a certification process for its giant concessions in Congo Brazzaville (ROC) and Congo Kinshasa (DRC). The management of a combined total forest area of 3.2 million hectares is to meet environmentally sustainable standards by 2008.
The Frankfurt-based company has engaged in a broad cooperation with the environmentalist group WWF to promote "sustainable forest management in Africa" at large, WWF reports. As part of this cooperation, Danzer subsidiaries IFO in Congo Brazzaville and SIFORCO in Congo Kinshasa re scheduled to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) from 2008 onwards. This is the largest concession area in Africa currently being prepared for FSC certification.
The IFO concession in Congo Brazzaville, comprising a total of 1.3 million hectares is scheduled to achieve FSC certification during 2008. Gradual certification of the five SIFORCO concessions in Congo Kinshasa, totalling nearly 1.9 million hectares, is set to begin in 2010.
According to Hans-Joachim Danzer, CEO of Danzer Group, the German company expects the cooperation with WWF to result in "long-term efforts to effectively promote prudent and responsible forestry in the Central African forests. Illegal logging is a threat to serious producer companies and fair competition on world markets, and must be stopped."
"Through our joint efforts, WWF and Danzer Group can make a significant contribution to rectifying this situation," Mr Danzer added. "We also hope that our joint activities will lead to a better mutual understanding of ecological demands and private economic interests in conjunction with sustainable forest management."
The German company also meets new demands in northern markets, where consumers are increasingly conscious regarding ethical and environmental standards "By adhering to the requirements set forth in a certificate, customers can rest assured that the wood they buy from us comes from responsibly managed sources. At the same time they are making an important contribution to the economic development of one of the world's poorest regions," noted Mr Danzer.
The Congo Basin forests contain more than half of Africa's animal species, including most of the forest elephants left in the continent, and the entire world population of lowland gorilla. The forests also provide food, materials and shelter to some 20 million people. Despite their importance, these forests are threatened by illegal and destructive logging, poaching and smuggling of wildlife, and the illicit bushmeat trade.
"We believe that the cooperation between WWF and Danzer represents an important shift towards responsible forestry for some of the world’s most threatened forests in the Congo Basin," says Per Rosenberg of the environmentalist group. "WWF looks forward to working with Danzer to realise their commitment," he adds.
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