Our planet’s future depends on healthy, resilient forests. From providing fuel, fiber and timber, to stabilizing our climate and water supplies and providing a habitat for countless species, the resources and services forests provide are invaluable, but undervalued. Safeguarding them has never been more urgent.
Forests Forward is WWF´s performance-driven impact program that mobilizes people, catalyzing actions to address global forest threats and to ensure that the world’s growing demand for wood can be met through sustainable forest management, including a new generation of well-managed plantations.
Forests Forward aims to demonstrate the full value of forests, not just for the wood they supply but for the many other benefits and ecosystem services they provide. It brings in science, policy, businesses and communities to identify, support, scale sustainable solutions and drive change:
Through participants' engagements and their outcomes, Forests Forward will secure positive impacts for forests and people. From halting biodiversity loss, combating further deforestation and degradation to recognizing those responsible for protecting, managing and restoring forests, in a fair and equitable way, for the benefit of all.
Participants in Forests Forward are companies, organizations, communities and groups of all shapes and sizes that commit to implementing and investing in sustainable forest practices, to change their supply chain sourcing, and to help ensure that the world’s forests continue to provide space for nature. They value and respect forests for their wide social, environmental, and economic benefits and look for hard-hitting evidence of permanent positive outcomes that will deliver against their sustainability commitments, or simply because they want to perform better.
They work with WWF to take actions toward clear, specific targets and milestones and make any commitments and information related to their participation publicly available.
A company, organization, community or group be considered a participant in Forests Forward once an initial proposal of work, based on a “scoping” phase of due diligence and opportunity assessment, is agreed to. Participants then enter the “preparatory” or “performance” phase where they will have individual scopes of work defined with agreed monitoring, reporting and verification plans, to enable progress and outcomes to be shared and communicated.
Thanks to this transparent, jointly designed road map, Forests Forward will be a visible route aiming to bring a better future for forests, people, nature and climate through impactful action.
Participants may include for example forest managers, processors and manufacturers of forest products, traders and retailers, end-users, financial institutions, and non-forest sector related commercial organizations.
Communities and small and medium-sized actors are also able to bring specific actions to the table. In return, they will gain greater recognition for their forest management, for their contributions to viable sustainable economies and landscapes, and their role in achieving and sustaining improved environmental and social outcomes.
Participants in Forests Forward undertake a wide range of actions that can fall under one or more of the following areas:
Participants in this action area are those managing forest resources, be it natural forests, plantations or entire landscapes. They want to manage their resources according to best management practices, not only for direct financial benefits, but based on a long-term vision of responsible resource management.
By working on specific impacts to improve their forest management and make it sustainable, they directly contribute to eliminating illegal logging, deforestation and reducing forest degradation. One can think of High Conservation Value (HCV) habitat protection, better silviculture, reforestation and biodiversity restoration, improvement of certain ecosystem services, more inclusive forest management, increased welfare and positive social impacts to name some.
Organizations participating in this field can be any type of forest steward including companies, smallholder, community forests and state forest enterprises. Forests Forward also supports specific groups of smallholders and community forests on achieving positive forest outcomes. Where possible, synergies are being sought with initiatives supporting those organizations.
Participants in this action area are those that either have a clear link in their sourcing to important forests or landscapes, or are linchpins in maintaining the connection of improving and credibly certified wood product flow from production forests to the global market. This may be in addition to improving forest management actions, in the case of some organizations or groups.
Forests Forward can help these participants influence changes in supply chains that are critical to a particular forest or landscape, make better decisions about the wood they source to help tackle illegality, and the way in which they connect to other actors in the market interested in responsible forest trade.
Participants in this action area want fair, inclusive and equitable value chains to create a better market, not only capitalize on the image of responsible sourcing. Their commitment to responsible sourcing of forest products is based on a long-term, credible vision to contribute to a better future for forests and people.
Participants in this action area are seeking to invest in impactful change that others can learn from and adopt elsewhere through a suite of tools and approaches beyond responsible forest management or supply chains.
Whether it’s a project to maintain, enhance and demonstrate the enormous value that forests hold, or to support sustainable growth and timber supply while positively impacting people and nature, Forests Forward helps identify and design practical, impactful action.
Forests Forward supports participants looking at specific impacts and innovative approaches within the timber trade (e.g. through innovations to combat illegal logging), or proactively engaging on broader conservation outcomes like supporting anti-poaching measures. Other forest-based interventions and actions that could be undertaken are forest restoration beyond legal requirements, support Protected Areas (PA) and High Conservation Value (HCV) management, fair market access through preferential purchasing policies, pricing that recognizes sustainability actions or projects that directly improve people's livelihood such as payment for ecosystem services.
Likewise, other non-forest sector organizations such as banks or investors for example, that are interested in making a positive contribution to the global sustainability agenda, might want to engage through Forests Forward in this area of action.