Last week I fled the surprisingly cold and snowy Southern Appalachians to present at the 2015 GreenBiz Forum in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. This was the GreenBiz media platform’s seventh annual forum, which has really become an important gathering spot for the corporate responsibility community and helps to shape the trends and opportunities in the sustainable business space. My joint presentation with Deborah Baker the Vice President of Sustainable Forestry at Georgia-Pacific (GP) was part of a joint session on “Cultivating Impactful Corporate-NGO Partnerships” . We shared our work mapping Endangered Forests across GP’s wood procurement system pursuant to our ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached back in 2010.
Under this agreement, we have been using a robust, data-driven methodology to review environmental values important to Dogwood Alliance through the conservation mapping process. Important conservation themes we’ve evaluated are:
- intact and rare forest landscapes
- concentrations of rare and endangered species
- concentrations of species-rich forests
With the analysis we have actually identified on-the-ground where these special places are across the 200 million acres of Southern Forests. In addition, areas that are identified through this process are ground-truthed, putting actual people out in the woods to make sure we finding and recording the most important places.
Dogwood is proud of the work we’ve accomplished with GP and our partner NRDC in implementing this agreement. Highlights of the progress of our work to date include:
- completing conservation mapping across GP’s entire Southern footprint
- identification of over 5.5 million acres of amazing places across the landscape that are now effectively locked out of GP’s procurement
We look forward to working with GP to extend this conservation mapping across their entire wood fiber procurement system, stretching beyond just the southeast.
We’re also working with GP to finalize the methodology for implementing an important additional component of our MOU, the company’s commitment to use their market influence against the conversion of natural hardwood forests to pine plantations.
We’ve already identified over 90 million acres of natural hardwoods extended protection under this provision.
It was a fun and important opportunity for Dogwood to be at the table with the movers and shakers of the green business community. I’ve already received positive feedback about our GreenBiz presentation and look forward to discussions with potential new corporate and non-profit partners to advance forest conservation here in the South.
You can learn more about our work with GP and other forest products companies coming up in our 2015 Green Grades Paper Industry Progress Report.