Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Sustainable Brands 2018: A Strong Show for FSC
FSC featured prominently in this year’s Sustainable Brands at its global flagship conference in Vancouver from June 4-7. With representatives from nearly all of the Fortune 100 and beyond present, FSC was widely recognized for its leadership in responsible forest products and for being the ideal partner because of its world-class standards and the endorsement of leading environmental and social NGO’s.
While FSC has partnered with Sustainable Brands and attended its events for years, staff felt the momentum shifting strongly in FSC’s favor at the Vancouver conference. The most remarkable moments at the event included:
- Presenting to a standing-room-only crowd of major retailers, other powerful consumer brands and sustainability influencers, outdoor retailer REI unveiled their groundbreaking Product Sustainability Standard, which is designed to raise the bar for responsible sourcing across the myriad third party products sold in REI stores. FSC is the preferred – and in the future, required – attribute for all forest-based products. Aside from the direct impact this will have on the market for FSC-certified products, REI’s commitment had an immediate positive impact with the audience, cementing our place as the world’s most trusted standard for forest products. We will be working closely with REI in coming months to support their efforts, while also advancing our mission.
- Before a plenary audience, Jay Gottleib, President of Kimberly-Clark Family Care North America, presented their “Heart Your Planet” campaign, a collaboration with FSC and WWF to educate consumers about the importance of protecting forests for future generations. Jay described their longstanding partnership with FSC as the only standard upon which to build consumer trust and loyalty. Along with Susan Emmer from XPrize, he also introduced a new cutting-edge joint venture designed to incentivize and deliver “moon-shot” innovations specifically to protect forests and rivers. We’re excited to see where this XPrize initiative goes, as it may offer an important new motivation for companies to transform their supply chains.
- On numerous occasions, speakers addressed plastic pollution in our oceans, with forest-derived materials suggested as a logical substitute and solution. The FSC team worked to bring the importance of sourcing from responsibly managed forests into the conversation. For example, in both public and private conversations, multiple major brands expressed their intent to phase out plastic straws, which is an important opportunity to ensure the alternatives are FSC certified (as Alaska Airlines did recently).
In addition to these key moments and themes, FSC hosted a well-attended dinner with new and existing partners to deepen our relationships. All in all, Sustainable Brands demonstrated anew the remarkable affinity FSC enjoys with brands committed to sustainability, pointing the way toward a bright future for FSC and its many partners.