Do you stop to look for a logo before you buy paper and wood products? A recent survey from World Wildlife Fund suggests that this is a much bigger problem than many of us are aware of.
I’m never going to lay claim to being the world’s most ethical shopper, but I like to think I have some idea what I’m doing.
If I’m shopping I will think about where my eggs have come from and I worry about sweat shops – but it’s never occurred to me to worry about the origins of my paper.
More fool me. Apparently, £700m a year is spent by UK shoppers on products made from illegally sourced wood. And we’re now the world’s fourth largest importer (after China, the US and Japan) of illegally logged or traded timber and wood products. That means our paper purchases could be adding to deforestation and global warming.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it’s not just me who’s blindly buying these paper and wood products. A recent survey by the conservation charity revealed that half of us don’t think about this when we’re shopping – even though it affects everything from paper to furniture.
On the plus side, you can guarantee what you’re buying comes from sustainable sources by looking for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. WWF’s What Wood You Choose? Campaign has been successful in getting several major companies to commit to sustainable, FSC-labelled wood. These include B&Q announcing that all its tropical plywood is now certified, and Argos recently launching an FSC-certified kitchen range.
While this is good progress, it’s still another label to look out for – and just because it doesn’t have the label doesn’t mean it’s been illegally sourced.
Do you look to see if the paper and wood you’re buying is sustainably source,d or is it the responsibility of companies to help us negotiate this environmental minefield?