Strongly committed to sustainable forest management and the fight against deforestation, the trade association Le Commerce du Bois (LCB) is a pioneer in environmental commitments. As early as 2006, LCB had gathered its members around an Environmental Charter for the responsible purchase and sale of wood, which was mainly based on sustainable forest management certification. In 2022, in a world faced with crises threatening natural resources and in order to respond to changing regulations and societal expectations, LCB is strengthening this tool.
The Environmental Charter thus becomes the LCB Charter of CSR commitments: a common policy ensuring reliability, robustness and transparency in the responsible practices of its members. On December 15, 2022, LCB presented this Charter of Commitments at a conference in hybrid format to fifty participants. LCB members will receive early next week their login and password to connect to the member area of the LCB website. They will be able to download the entire Charter and the annexes useful for its implementation.
In a context of climatic and geopolitical crises and increasing scarcity of resources, the mobilization of economic actors is necessary. Aware of these issues, LCB and its members are developing their commitments by strengthening their Charter, which is now based on various and complementary mechanisms such as LCB's due diligence system (fight against illegal wood), sustainable management certifications, sales force training, customer information, but also the implementation of internal policies by member companies.
This Charter of CSR commitments unites its signatories on the basis of common values, and enables them to anticipate regulatory changes and all the present and future challenges facing the wood industry. Produced within the framework of a participatory construction process involving all the colleges of members, and including external stakeholders (NGOs, institutional and commercial partners, etc.), it is part of a global approach corresponding to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular, goals 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption) and 13 (Climate Action), 15 (Life on Land).
It defines a base of responsible practices below which no company can position itself if it wishes to benefit from the association's support and network.
This project of standardization of good practices commits all LCB members, in their entirety and in their diversity, whether they are importers, planers, traders or agents.
Their commitments are based on three fundamental pillars: sustainable procurement (reducing social and environmental impacts), responsible sales (transparent communication) and controlled operations (a CSR policy and a reduction in the carbon footprint of activities). They are also broken down into two levels of involvement: essential commitments, which combine regulatory requirements and responsible practices, and differentiating commitments, which mark the extra attention paid by LCB members to social and environmental responsibility issues and translate into concrete terms the progress approach in which LCB members are involved.
"For example, members will be able to contribute to carbon neutrality by promoting wood in construction and renovation for its thermal insulation and CO2 storage qualities, and by calculating and controlling the carbon impacts of their activities. They will also be able to engage in projects for the preservation or restoration of forest ecosystems, which will help protect biodiversity, initiatives related to the circular economy or the social economy by facilitating, among other things, the employment of people in social reintegration," says Alessandra Negri, LCB's CSR Manager.
The actions implemented within the framework of LCB's CSR Charter of Commitments have quantified and time-bound objectives. They are evaluated every two years by a third party organization that is mandatory for marketers, which guarantees the seriousness of the commitments.
At the end of the audit, the company is given a rating, the "Timber-score", ranging from A to E. The continuous improvement process is ensured by the commitment to obtain a higher rating than the previous one at each audit.
With this revised Charter, which will come into force on January 1, 2023, Le Commerce de Bois aims to support the continuous improvement of its members' practices. Thus, the association guarantees their sincere involvement in a common commitment to the protection of forests, their biodiversity, the human communities that live in them and, more broadly, the development of eco-material wood in construction. This is another step towards achieving carbon neutrality and ensuring our society's adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
"Between LCB's CSR approach and the approach of the ISB Group, which was developed in parallel, there are many common points. Moreover, there are many good practices already in place among LCB members that are just waiting to be highlighted and the LCB CSR Charter is a way to bring them to light. The philosophy of the universal and common language of the SDGs, of the LCB CSR Charter and finally also of our own, is continuous improvement. The evaluation of the level of commitments, the definition of objectives and the implementation of an action plan to achieve them allows everyone to progress. The LCB charter is a great complement to our approach. It is a great way to go further in the individual practices that we have in our companies, to share them collectively so that we all pull ourselves upwards with the objective of obtaining an A score in the years to come. It is also a way to support the approaches that we all have with different levels of maturity with this common core that is the LCB CSR charter and to give credit through the third party audit. The Timber-score is very interesting: there is the path to follow represented by the Charter and there is the result, the trophy that we can display at the end. And we know that for our sector there is a very strong communication challenge within the sector but also towards the consumers of our timber products. The Timber-score, which is based on visual codes known by consumers, will allow us to have a stronger impact in our communications. Manel EON Marketing & Innovation Director of ISB Group
"The LCB Environmental Charter set up in 2006 had the merit of formalizing the commitments of its signatories. When the European Union Timber Regulation came into force, LCB's strength was that it was one of the only three control organizations in Europe to be recognized by the authorities for its due diligence system. Today, LCB's CSR Charter, which includes this legality component and requires an external audit, makes it an extremely strong system on the market. The environmental and societal commitments expressed in this CSR Charter encourage us as a company to go one step further and bring us closer to today's consumers. Each individual asks himself the question of the impact he has on the environment and society. This speaks to everyone. Within the Malvaux group, many actions are already in place, with local associations for example, but they are not part of a group CSR strategy. They are not shared or communicated. For us, the LCB CSR Charter is an entry point for an approach that will be extended to our group. This tool will feed the reflection that we are already carrying out and will help us to link our existing actions into a global strategy. It will also have a clear merit in terms of communication. The Timber-score will be very challenging and will push a certain number of initiatives in the group. The principle of continuous improvement will encourage year after year to engage new actions to add a stone to the building and will contribute to pull the whole sector upwards. Aline BERTOCCHI Product Manager - Plywood Sourcing & Sales OM| Sylvaco