Award for best sustainable practice.
TFT Brazil and TFT member and forestry company Rondobel have been named ahead of leading international brands to win the 2014 Fecomerico Sustainability Award. The award, which recognises the best sustainable practices in Brazil, was given to Rondobel, under the category ‘large companies,’ for its journey toward responsible forest management in the Amazon.
Rondobel began working with TFT in 2009. It became the first Brazilian company to achieve Verification of Legal Origin (VLO) certification in 2010. Rondobel then achieved the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification in 2012. But it did not stop there. It went beyond certification, working with TFT to transform its culture, with the aim of having transparent supply chains and having a positive impact on the forests and the communities living in them.
Xavier Andrillon, TFT’s head of South America, said: “Rondobel have worked hard with us out in the field, proving responsible forest management isn’t only possible, but it can help a company to grow. More importantly Rondobel is a family business, which is representative of most of the timber companies in the region. However, many good practices have been historically achieved by much bigger companies. So Rondobel is showing the great majority of mid-size companies in the region that they can too succeed in the sustainability journey.” Prior to 2009 Rondobel never set out to cause deforestation, but it didn’t have the tools to trace its wood to a responsible source. It had little contact with local communities either, who were left to assume Rondobel were intent on destroying, rather than saving, the forest.
Fast forward to today and Rondobel is a leading example of how forest companies can grow while working with responsible, traceable wood that takes the local communities into consideration. It now has 160 employees and manages 35,000 hectares of natural forest in the west of Pará – exporting to Europe, the US and Cuba. TFT Members, especially Leroy Merlin, were key in supporting this journey, backing Rondobel’s efforts through their continued orders.
The transformation began when TFT helped Rondobel to improve its forest management practices by organising internal procedures, improving field practices, and developing the chain of custody and controls to ensure traceability. It has also become much closer to the 16 neighbouring communities of the forest area, measuring the impact it has on them and then putting an action plan together to support the development of those communities. TFT and Rondobel have held workshops with the communities and indigenous people to teach more about forest management. Around 70% of new jobs at Rondobel are filled by people from neighbouring communities.