gaviotas_forest.jpgWal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has committed to using more wood from sustainable, certified sources and phasing out wood from illegal or non-sustainable sources. By becoming a member of the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), Wal-Mart will be helping to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests.

“With nearly half of the world’s forests already gone, action is urgently needed,” said Suzanne Apple, for the World Wildlife Fund, which partnered with Wal-mart. “Wal-Mart’s commitment to support responsible forestry answers that call to action.”

The United States is the largest consumer of industrial timber, pulp and paper and is a top destination for wood from areas where illegal logging and trade are common such as Indonesia, China and Brazil.

Wal-Mart sources wood for furniture from the Amazon, Russia, northern China, Indonesia and the Mekong region of south-east Asia. These areas include some of the most biologically diverse places on earth, places that WWF is working to protect.

Within one year, Wal-Mart will complete an assessment of where its wood is coming from and whether it is legal and well managed. Once the assessment is complete Wal-Mart has committed to eliminating wood from illegal and unknown sources within five years.

Earlier this year the American discount department store committed to purchasing 100 per cent of its wild caught salmon within four years from sources certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (another World Wildlife Fund operation).

(Editor’s Note: Why must it take five years to eliminate these suppliers? That doesn’t sound like an urgent action to me, but it is better than no action, right?)

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