13.05.2019 Forests worldwide are a public good and forestry students often wonder how far private timber companies are prepared to go, to preserve and maintain natural forests. Mr. Ulrich Grauert, INTERHOLCO’s CEO, showed students worldwide how INTERHOLCO walks the talk, during a webinar hosted by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) on 16 April 2019.
The overarching theme of the webinar was ‘Global challenges – global solutions: international forest policy in the United Nations and beyond’. Over one hundred students representing the Major Group Children and Youth (MGCY) to UNFF, the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) and the Youth in Landscape (YIL) joined in. The presentation focused on the various landscapes in which INTERHOLCO operates, as a leading wood producing company, carefully harvesting and processing hardwood from a natural tropical forest in the Republic of Congo.
«Producing wood ‘Made in Africa’ requires a high degree of responsibility, which for us means to be fully engaged,» said Mr. Grauert: «firstly, with our employees, then with all indigenous and local communities on the ground; in parallel, we engage with governmental authorities, local, regional and international civil society organizations, academic institutions and scientific experts and international organizations, including the UNFF. Our main objective in the regions where we work is, that forests shall remain socially, ecologically and economically intact and this, for generations to come. By maintaining intact forests, we fight climate change and halt deforestation.»
In the ensuing Questions & Answers session, the students focused on all aspects of Sustainable Forest Management.
The forest management approaches and the very low harvesting rates were of particular interest. In the INTERHOLCO forest concession in the North of the Republic of Congo over 350’000 hectares (>30%) are set aside to preserve unique social and ecological values. The remaining app. 800’000 hectares are managed for timber, selectively harvesting as little as 1 tree per 2 football fields (= 2 hectares), only once every 30 years resulting in an annual harvest of app. 0.25 m3 per hectare.
Mr. Grauert pointed out that the forest management practices INTERHOLCO is implementing (i.e. setting aside ecologically and/or socially especially sensitive areas, selective harvesting, very low harvesting rates, etc.) requires larger forest areas (i.e. 200’000 – 300’000 ha and more), and is most likely financially not sustainable at smaller scales.
«In the end,» concluded Mr. Grauert, «one advice I may give you as forest students is, find a good company and make your own, personal experience. Also be critical and ask for information. Do not believe everything you hear or read: double-check and form your own opinion.»
To watch the webinar or take a look at the Q&A session, please click here: https://youtu.be/snmaD_Vc3RU
Since 1962, INTERHOLCO is serving an international clientele with high-quality hardwood – Made in Africa.
With annual sales of about EUR 65 Mio., the Swiss-based INTERHOLCO is one of the leading international suppliers of sustainable hardwood, from sourcing and processing to high quality hardwood products: logs, lumber, laminated scantlings and more. In addition to three processing sawmills, large kiln facilities, a lamination and planing mill, INTERHOLCO manages an FSC-certified 1.1 million ha forest concession in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), employing a diverse dedicated global workforce of about 1’000 people. INTERHOLCO serves over 50 countries world-wide, from importers to industrial end-users.
INTERHOLCO is committed to making sustainably harvested timber from Africa the norm, as a renewable material that improves people’s livelihoods in the region and protects the forest and its precious wildlife. INTERHOLCO supports the Fair&Precious initiative in its goal to increase market recognition of sustainable hardwood from Africa based on technical, environmental and sustainability considerations.
Communications contact INTERHOLCO
Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal
INTERHOLCO AG, Schutzengelstr. 36, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0)41 767 03 82