FEATURED: New Forests Company delighted to be the first in Rwanda to receive FSC certification

Today, the New Forests Rwanda (NFR) Company’s Nyungwe Buffer Zone Concession area is certified to the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management certification. 

This certification shows that NFR is managing the forest assets in a manner that complies with international, national and local laws; maintains community relations and worker’s rights; manages and limits environmental impacts; and generates multiple benefits from the forest assets. 

On September 26th, 2018, Darren Lapp, the CEO of New Forests Rwandan division shared the news of the FSC certificate during an NFR stakeholders meeting at Onomo Hotel in Kigali. 

The meeting was attended by officials from two Rwandan Government Ministries as well as FSC’s Regional Project Manager. 

“After a great effort by our teams, and a thorough audit by an accredited auditor on our systems, processes and results, NFR’s management of the Nyungwe Buffer Zone has been certified to the FSC standard. Customers and stakeholders, including the Government of Rwanda, can be confident that the forest asset is being managed to a very high standard” said Lapp.

He added that the team at New Forests takes its environmental and social responsibilities seriously, so we’re delighted that the team’s hard work has resulted in this certification.

While giving her presentation during the meeting, Annah Agasha, the Project Manager at FSC Africa’s Regional office said that the Forest Stewardship Council is an international, not-for-profit and multi-stakeholder organization that was set up in1993.  The FSC promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests.

“For more than 20 years, the FSC has been working hard to ensure that the world’s forests are managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable manner, and we are happy that the New Forests Company has been recognized and certified for doing exactly that” said Agasha.

According to Joseph Munyarukaza, the program manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at NFC, the next step will be to investigate FSC’s Chain of Custody certification. This would allow the company’s forest products to be supplied into the market with an FSC label, meaning that customers could be assured that the products are made with wood that comes from forests which comply all laws and FSC’s principles.

This new certification is in addition to our continued and ongoing investment in environmentally friendly systems and processes.

NFC’s benefiting communities led to its being certified by FSC

Founded in 2004 to address massive deforestation rates, New Forests Company (NFC) is a private company that has operations in three countries in East Africa, each with a treated pole plant and two with active timber milling operations.

Darren Lapp took The New Times through the company’s activities and the trajectory that resulted in FSC certification for the Nyungwe Buffer Zone.

Whilst seeking to deliver profitability to its investors and shareholders, which is critical for long-term viability, the company also fundamentally believes it must do the right thing for people and the planet by creating jobs, improving the lives of workers, neighbors and protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Darren added, “NFC also buys pole materials from out-growers and local farmers which encourage them to plant trees thus helping to preserve environment while earning an income”.

He explained that NFC, donates seedlings to farmers at no cost to establish wood-lots, provides technical support and does follow-ups on performance of the trees and advises farmers when it’s time to thin & prune the growing forests.

To date, NFC in the region has planted 38 million trees – 28 million planted directly by NFC and another 10 million seedlings distributed to 6400 out-growers

“So we look at all the three aspects; the community and how it should benefit from the forest; mitigating impacts on the environment and making a profit, making it a win-win situation for everyone.” Darren said.

NFC has so far spent $450,000 on community projects; executed ten clean water projects in communities around the forest; built four classroom blocks; established 150 beehives in various cooperatives and supported third parties that grow seedlings for the company.

All our manufacturing operations have achieved, or are preparing for, ISO 9001 (QMS) certification and.  The Forest Stewardship Council certification was received in September 2018.

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