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The WWF initiative is asking local authorities across the country to make a commitment to buy only wood products such as paper, furniture, fencing , doors, etc that come from recycled and certified sources such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
 
WWF research shows that local authorities that don't know the source of this timber could be supporting the unsustainable and illegal timber trade, which threatens not only rainforests but contributes to illegal logging, habitat loss for species such as orang-utans and threatens the livelihood and well being of communities who rely on the forests in places such as Indonesia and the Congo Basin.
 
There are three levels of pledge, 'gold, silver and bronze', and Leicestershire has made the Silver WWF pledge.  It has pledged not to buy any timber and wood-derived products where it doesn't know the source of the wood.
 
 Before signing up to the pledge Leicestershire County Council carried out a financial assessment to find out the impact of adopting minimum buying standards. Although there will be a slight premium, supplier engagement and rationalisation will make adopting the policy cost neutral.
 
Matthew Lugg, Leicestershire County Council Director of Environment and Transport, said: We are delighted to lead on this matter by adopting minimum buying standards which will help us to achieve our vision to be the best performing County Council in England on the environment.
 
"By adopting these standards we will be helping to protect the sustainability of rainforests, the biodiversity that depends on it and livelihood of people who live in forests. We encourage others to follow this truly sustainable initiative by signing up to a WWF Pledge."
 
Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF-UK, added: "By joining up to the Silver pledge, Leicesterhire County Council is helping to set the standard which all local authorities can follow. If local government, businesses or even consumers buy any wood or paper products that aren't certified then they could, unwittingly, be helping to fuel unsustainable and illegal logging activities across the globe.
 
"Buying FSC certified or equivalent products is the only way to be certain that the interests of the forests, the species that live in them, and the people that rely on them to make a living are being considered."
 
From March 2013 a new EU regulation will mean that anyone introducing a forest product into the UK market will have to show where it's come from and that it isn't illegal. A recent survey for WWF by TNS Omnibus showed that 84% of adults in the UK think their local authority should commit to buying sustainable wood and paper products.
 
The pledge initiative forms part of WWF's 'What Wood You Choose?', two-year, EU-funded campaign that aims to help people and businesses make the right choices when buying wood-related products such as kitchen worktops and toilet paper.
 
People get guarantee that what they are buying comes from sustainable sources by looking for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. The FSC logomeans it has been sourced from well-managed forests according to high environmental and social standards.
 
Editor's notes
 
The way we live is leading to environmental threats such as climate change, species extinction, deforestation, water shortages and the collapse of fisheries. WWF is working to help people live a good quality of life within the earth's capacity. For more information visit www.wwf.org.uk/campaigning
 
The survey of 1053 UK adults aged 16-64 was carried out by TNS Omnibus from 3-7 June 2010.
 
For more information on the 'What Wood You Choose?' campaign and the pledge visit: www.wwf.org.uk/whatwoodyouchoose
 
www.wwf.org.uk/timberpledge
 
For further information, please contact:
Robin Clegg, WWF-UK t: 07771 818707, e: rclegg@wwf.org.uk
Kirsty Nicolson, Leicestershire County Council, t:  01163055712 e: kirsty.nicolson@leics.gov.uk"

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