On 01.06, the very first Belgian edition of the 'FSC on tour' was organised as a partnership between FSC Belgium, FSC Nederland and Vandecasteele Houtimport as host. The 'FSC on tour' concept - brought over from FSC Netherlands - aims to bring together various stakeholders to engage in dialogue around this fantastic material wood!
As a natural and renewable raw material, wood has incredible advantages, provided of course that it is based on responsible forest management.
A diverse audience of 60 participants took part in the event, including both public sector clients, NGOs, and knowledge institutions, and wood processing companies.
The visitors were welcomed by Stefaan & Louis Vandecasteele, 4th & 5th generation of the family company, with an introduction of the activities and history of the company.
With a video from the ATIBT “How to preserve the tropical forest?” , Dirk Debussche, purchase manager at Vandecasteele Houtimport, outlined what sustainable forest management really means.
Then the tour through the yard along 100 different wood species from 87 countries could start. At a beautiful parcel of FSC Bilinga from CIB, Bart Holvoet Director from FSC Belgium was explaining the importance of the social aspect in FSC certification.
Mark Kemna of FSC Netherlands explained the difference in impact on biodiversity in a FSC forest compared to a non-FSC forest.
A third stop was at a parcel of FSC Jatoba decking where Daniela Teixeira Vilela and Fernanda Vaz Pereira of FSC Brazil told us how important FSC certification is in Brazil and how we can all contribute to increase this acreage.
The FSC certified American Hardwood from Baillie Lumber was the venue of the pitch of Isabelle Polfliet, procurement manager, to give an insight into what traceability means at Vandecasteele Houtimport : how the company guarantees this from its suppliers to its customers, which platforms and tools are used. “Sustainable forest management is what we stand for and FSC is our guarantee. Use 1 tree protect 100 trees.”
The inspiring walk ended with a view on the impressive pond where Genevieve Standaert, Export Manager at Vandecasteele Houtimport, gave an overview of the latest sustainability actions. These included the conversion of fertilised hay meadows into pastures for organic cows. This is a collaboration with the local organic farmer and since Monday 29 May, 11 Hereford cows have now been grazing on the meadow in front of the company.
During the closing drink, Vandecasteele Houtimport was honoured by FSC Belgium as the company was one of the pioneers in FSC Chain of Custody certification in Belgium. It is now FSC-certified for 25 years. Whereas the supply of certified wood was rather low in the early years, it has increased significantly over the years. It has a total stock of 120,000m³ of timber, divided among 130 species from which 50% is FSC certified.
Vandecasteele Houtimport aims to trade certified timber (FSC, PEFC, OLB, Legal Source, TLV,…) only by 2025.