Leroy Merlin promotes a culture of sustainable forest management
One of the largest sellers of wood products in the market of building materials, Leroy Merlin, has launched the transition to the sustainable trade in wood products. The new policy of one of the leading retailer includes sustainable approaches to interaction with its suppliers and customers.
"Among the priorities of our forest policy is the guarantee of the legality of the wood origin, the conservation of unique ecosystems, including high conservation value forests, as well as the promotion of the culture of sustainability and environmentally responsible attitude to the forest and the consumption of its products," says Ekaterina Ivanova, head of social and environmental responsibility department of Leroy Merlin. "It is important for us to convey the meaning of all this work to our employees and customers, as it is the daily choice of each of us that affects the conservation of forests."
As part of sustainable forest management promotion, Leroy Merlin has launched a project that includes educational work with Russian schools and universities, as well as reforestation in the ecologically valuable territory of Altai Region. "In partnership with the experts, we have selected one group of products and calculated the compensation for consumed wood through reforestation. For us, this is an example of real, science-based actions, which we will be able to use later when working with suppliers," adds Ekaterina Ivanova.
The value of the mountain forests of Altai Region, widely recognized as the mountain forests of the Altai-Sayan, are included in the list of 200 most environmentally valuable ecoregions in the world that harbor exceptional biodiversity (Global 200). Conservation of this unique natural site is one of the most crucial environmental tasks, for WWF-Russia among others. In recent decades, the forest landscapes of the region, which play an important role in the biological diversity conservation, have been subject to significant negative impacts. The main causes of their degradation are pests, forest diseases, fires, unfavorable weather conditions and other factors, including industrial logging carried out in the USSR.
The Leroy Merlin campaign will reforest about 90 hectares of coniferous forest in the Altai Region to compensate for the volume of wood used for the production of a specific category of products (floor coverings). As part of the campaign, the soil was prepared, the composition of the local species was selected, a set of measures for reforestation was determined, as well as the necessary forest tending measures.
Leroy Merlin does not only care about the reforestation of valuable forest landscapes in the Altai Region, but also promotes sustainable way of forest resources use through direct participation of its employees and the local community in reforestation and forest tending procedures.
WWF-Russia believes that competent thinning in young stands is necessary to achieve the maximum effect from forest landscape reforestation. It is equally important to promote the very idea of thinning in young stands, as this will help change the country's poor practice of planting forest cultures without proper further care, which leads to their degradation or complete destruction. Environmentally responsible behavior of producers, retailers and consumers along with competent and sustainable forest management is the key to the successful conservation of forest resources of our country.
Headline photo: (c) Mikhail Paltsyn / WWF-Russia