Kingfisher partners with Rainforest Alliance on ‘forest positive’ commitment

Kingfisher’s role as a founding partner will be to support the implementation of Integrated Community Forest Management approaches. Image credit Rainforest Alliance

Kingfisher has been announced as a founding member of the Rainforest Alliance’s Forest Allies initiative. Through the new partnership, Kingfisher will support efforts to protect, restore, and enable responsible management of tropical forests, all while building stronger local economies for those that manage the surrounding land.

The partnership will also assist Kingfisher in meeting its commitment to become “forest positive” by creating more forests than it uses by 2025 – a target that was unveiled earlier this year.

Kingfisher’s chief executive Thierry Garnier said:  “We are fully committed to being a responsible business and to having a positive impact on the lives of our customers, colleagues, communities and the planet. We are one of the largest buyers of wood products in Europe, so we have a significant footprint. Therefore, the partnership we’re announcing today with the Rainforest Alliance presents an opportunity to work with strategic partners to respond to the challenges of deforestation and builds on our heritage of leading the industry in the responsible sourcing of wood.

“I believe this new partnership will help us to make more of a positive difference, not only for the future of wood and paper sourcing, but also the communities and wildlife that rely on forests to live, for generations to come. It also means when customers shop in one of our stores, they can have certainty that not only is the wood they buy responsibly sourced, but they’re buying it from someone committed to protecting and helping to restore the planet’s forests.”

Kingfisher’s role as a founding partner will be to support the implementation of Integrated Community Forest Management approaches in key tropical sourcing regions.

The 2025 forest pledge forms part of a new set of Responsible Business priorities, designed to maximise the firm’s positive impacts and to streamline sustainability communications and reporting around ‘priority areas’. The priorities are becoming a more inclusive company; acting on forests and climate change; making greener, healthier homes affordable, and fighting to fix ‘bad’ housing.

Since 2015, Kingfisher has targeted a ‘net-positive’ impact for people and planet. Its previous sustainability strategy incorporated 50 specific targets for 2050 and, in a bid to embed these ambitions into the business model and into consumer behaviours,  Kingfisher launched a 12-point sustainable growth plan in 2018.

Under the commitment, Kingfisher will transition to 100% responsibly sourced wood and paper – the largest natural resources it uses – in all products before the end of 2021. According to the firm’s latest responsible business report, 94% of the wood and paper in products sold at Kingfisher’s three main retail brands was certified as sustainable or from recycled sources. Kingfisher works with both the FSC and the PEFC to source certified materials.

From 2021, Kingfisher will begin to deliver projects as part of Forest Allies. It has previously supported forest restoration projects led by RSPB and BirdLife, in locations across the UK, Poland, Spain and Indonesia.

Deforestation drivers

The commitment arrives amid reports that deforestation in the Amazon region has dramatically increased since the World Health Organisation first declared Covid-19 a pandemic. According to WWF, deforestation was up 150% in March 2020 compared to the average figures for March 2017, 2018 and 2019. Those clearing land are thought to have been taking advantage of reduced patrols.

Globally, the rate of deforestation over the last five years sits at 10 million hectares annually, down from 16 million hectares annually in the 1990s. However, the land coverage of forests worldwide has decreased by more than 80 million hectares in the last thirty years.

The Rainforest Alliance’s founder Daniel Katz said: “Forests have been a key focus for the Rainforest Alliance since the organisation was founded in 1986. Our Forest Allies initiative is a new and innovative approach to protecting forests and biodiversity. Forest Allies emphasizes the importance of forest communities as guardians of the forest and how we can assist them by connecting our market partners directly to their work.

“We are pleased to welcome Kingfisher as a founding member of Forest Allies, congratulate them on their sustainability commitments and look forward to working together to forge new solutions to ensure that people and nature thrive in harmony.”

Matt Mace

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