Markets working to support sustainable development

WWF Global Forest & Trade Network

Established in 1991, the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) is a partnership between different actors in the timber supply chain committed to ensuring a sustainable forest sector, including more than 300 companies, NGOs, communities and entrepeneurs. 

The goal is to end illegal logging by creating a market for responsible forest products to create market incentives for better forest management; this is achieved by  taking a ‘stepwise approach’ whereby forest owners move towards credible certification of forestry units, whilst traders in timber based products are encouraged to gain chain of custody certification. Primarily the GFTN network has used FSC certification - based on the WWF and World Bank authored document 'A framework for assessing credible forest certification systems/schemes' (2006).

In order to become participants, applicants must be legally registered entities while also meeting specific requirements, including a public committment to use only legal and responsibly sourced wood. They must also apply for credible certification and agree to comply with GFTN's communication code of practice. 

Further requirements are dependant on what type of member the applicant will be - forest or trade - and are detailed below:

Forest participants

  • Provide copies of forest certificates and related reports.
  • Provide a statement of intent regarding the certification of its Forest Management Units (FMU).
  • Achieve certification of FMUs.
  • Implement an action plan in each uncertified FMU.
  • Comply with relevant laws.
  • Report production values.

Trade participants

  • Commit to responsible sourcing of forest products.
  • Eliminate timber from unwanted sources.
  • Implement a responsible purchasing action plan and meet time-bound targets.
  • Commit to certification of chain of custody.
  • Report data on forest products purchased.

​From the ouset, an applicant must undergo a baseline appraisal to determine whether credible cetification is feasible, as well as establish a benchmark from which to build an agreed action plan to achieve credible certification. For forest companies, they must also prove that they are operating legally and committ to a maximum ten year deadline for all their forest management units. Meanwhile, all actors in the supply-chain of wood and paper products - right down to end-users - must achieve credible chain-of-custody certification within one to five years. In addition, all applicants must also agree to report on their progress regularly and allow GFTN coordinators to visit their company and their operational sites.

Market coverage: 

As of May 2014, GFTN has: 

  • 194 particpants from all over the world, including Australia, Asia, Europe and America. 
  • Round Wood Equivalent traded per year: 324,629,784 m3.
  • FMU Area: 23,982,587 Ha.
  • Forest Stewardship Council Hectares: 19,205,424 Ha - 10 per cent of the global FSC certified forest area.
  • 1.5 million employees around the world by 205 global companies.
  • 13 per cent of every forest product bought or sold internationally every year, with combined annual sales of US$64 billion.
Background information: 

GFTN offices across the world provide support and services to GFTN members. There are currently 34 producer and consumer countries, with nearly 250 companies and organisations involved.

Funding source: 

The global average for revenue source are: 

  • WWF Programme Funding: 46%
  • GFTN Participation Fees: 20%
  • Government Aid Agencies Funding: 25%
  • Corporate Donations: 9%

Donors include:

  • The Australian Government
  • Citigroup
  • Ikea
  • Norweigen Agency for Development
  • Sweedish International Development Coopration Agency 
  • Blue Moon Fund
  • UK Department for International Development (DFID)
  • European Union (EU)
  • US AID
  • International Finance Cooperation (IFC-PENSA)
  • DGIS
Notable information: 

GFTN seeks to offer economic benefits for responsible forest management for all parts of the supply-chain.