Kingfisher plc, the international home improvement company, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, has announced a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance through the Forest Allies initiative.
As a founding member of Forest Allies, Kingfisher will support the Rainforest Alliance to protect, restore, and enable responsible management of tropical forests. Programmes will engage with local forest communities to build strong local economies, whilst also protecting the natural resources they depend upon.
Working with the Rainforest Alliance and alongside other corporate partners, Kingfisher will support the implementation of Integrated Community Forest Management in key tropical sourcing regions. This will help to deliver on outcomes such as maintaining and restoring forests and improving biodiversity and livelihoods for forest communities.
Under its group-wide Powered by Kingfisher strategy launched in June, Kingfisher has identified four Responsible Business priorities where it believes it can use its experience, scale and influence to achieve the most positive impact. These are Colleagues, Planet, Customers and Communities(1). The partnership with the Rainforest Alliance will be instrumental in meeting Kingfisher’s targets relating to ‘Planet’, which include the commitment to create more forests than it uses and become Forest Positive by 2025.
Wood and paper are the largest natural resources used across Kingfisher and are present in around a quarter of all products sold by the business, from kitchen cabinets and sheds to paint brush handles and sandpaper. For almost 30 years, Kingfisher has been committed to sourcing wood and paper responsibly, starting with the first responsible timber policy published at B&Q in 1991 and becoming a founding partner (as was the Rainforest Alliance) of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 1993. Kingfisher has a group-wide target to source 100% of its wood and paper responsibly, with B&Q already at 98%.
Although a lot of good work has been done across a variety of sectors, deforestation and forest degradation continues at alarming rates. This contributes significantly to biodiversity loss, and impedes the fight against climate change. Halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting restoration has the potential to deliver over a third of the total climate change mitigation needed by 2030.
From 2021, Kingfisher will begin to deliver projects as part of Forest Allies, and will monitor and assess outcomes, including the impact on: maintaining and restoring forests and biodiversity, implementing sustainable forest management, supporting forest communities in adapting to climate change, empowering forest communities at scale and improving livelihoods for foresters and their families.
Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer of Kingfisher plc, commented:
“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.”
Daniel Katz, Founder and Board Chair, the Rainforest Alliance, said:
“Forests have been a key focus for the Rainforest Alliance since the organization 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.”