CONGO: Olam completes first African FSC-certified project

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CONGO: Olam completes first African FSC-certified project ©Watercolor_Art_Photo/Shutterstock

The Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), has just accomplished something unprecedented in the history of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Africa. The subsidiary of Olam Agri has just built an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified company restaurant in the Nouabalé-Ndoki park in northern Congo.

The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in northern Congo is now the protected area that hosts the first African FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified project. It is a company restaurant, including a fully equipped kitchen and a wooden bar that was manufactured at the same time as the structure. The ecological added value of this building is that it was built only with wood from a sustainable process, a wood certified FSC.

The FSC label is considered by several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be the most rigorous forest certification system, whose requirements make it possible to meet the current challenges of deforestation, climate and biodiversity. The FSC forest management standard is used on more than 238 million hectares of forest worldwide. It is based on ten core principles designed to address a wide range of environmental, social and economic factors. These include respect for laws, workers’ rights and working conditions, indigenous peoples’ rights, and maintaining the biological diversity and ecosystem values and services of forests.

An achievement of CIB, a subsidiary of Olam Agri

The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park restaurant is for the eco-guards of the Nouabale Ndoki Foundation (FNN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society Congo (WCS), which manages this protected area under a 25-year public-private partnership signed with the Congolese government in 2014. The first African FSC project is an achievement of the Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), as part of its CSR policy. The subsidiary of Singaporean agribusiness giant Olam Agri, part of the Olam Group, built the restaurant in four months, using FSC-certified wood from one of its sawmills.

Read also-GABON: Towards sustainable certification of the timber industry

“We wanted to go all the way and be the first company to complete an FSC-certified project. This demonstrates that with our teams, we are able to master the FSC management of more than 1.8 million hectares of natural forest in the country, transform the wood locally and build finished products while respecting the requirements of the certification,” says Vincent Istace, CIB’s CSR and sustainable development manager.

CIB, based in northern Congo since 1969, more precisely in the Pokola Council, Sangha Division, specializes in logging, industrial processing and marketing of wood. It employs more than 1,000 permanent workers in 4 forest management units (FMUs) covering approximately 2.2 million hectares: Pokola, Kabo, Loundoungou-Toukoulaka and Mimbeli Ibenga. The first three FMUs are 100% FSC certified.

         Boris Ngounou 

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