Two High Street retailers have recently sold greetings cards that could be contributing to forest destruction. The testing, organised by WWF-UK and carried out by a laboratory in Germany, tested 20 cards and envelopes. Three products, bought from Paperchase, the Card Factory and Clinton’s contained various amounts of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH), meaning that the fibres had most likely come from natural growth tropical forests.
Of the three retailers, one, Paperchase, seems able to provide evidence that their product was from a sustainable source. This highlights the need for firms to carefully scrutinise their supply chains to reassure themselves and their customers that their products are not contributing to forest destruction.
More cards are bought per person in the UK than in any other country, with an average of 31 per person bought every year, and last year the UK market for greeting cards was valued at £1.29 billion. Due to legislative loopholes, it is possible to legally sell imported cards that have been made from illegally-logged or cleared forests. WWF wants the loopholes closed and firms to take proper responsibility for their supply chains. WWF believes consumers should be confident that the cards they buy are not contributing to the illegal logging or unsustainable harvest of forests in places like South East Asia.
Beatrix Richards, Head of Corporate Stewardship Timber and Seafood, WWF, said;
“These results suggest that the true cost of our Valentine’s card could be far greater than the price on the wrapping. They may be contributing to the further loss of some of the most valuable forests in the world.
“Companies that rely on forests for their raw materials should scrutinise their supply chains, and reassure consumers that they are buying cards made from recycled or sustainable materials.”
Over thirty UK businesses have already signed up to WWF’s Forest Campaign that will help enable a market in 100% sustainable timber and wood products by 2020, including Carillion Kingfisher, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Travis Perkins.
Deforestation is an issue affecting some of our most important natural forests around the world, and with global demand for wood set to triple by 2050, businesses and countries need to get their act together in order to ensure a sustainable supply for the future.
The European Timber Regulation (EUTR), which came in to force in March 2013, was set up across Europe to remove illegally sourced timber from the EU markets.
Due to loopholes in the EUTR it is currently legal to import certain goods made from illegally sourced wood, such as greetings cards, musical instruments or books. These exemptions mean that some firms may be unwittingly or deliberately purchasing materials from dubious sources.