WASHINGTON, DC, June 18, 2020 (Press Release) -Today, theAmerican Forest Foundation(AFF) announcedWestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, through its WestRock Foundation, has committed to supporting family forest owners addressing climate change by investing in the development of the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), a new program created by AFF andThe Nature Conservancy(TNC).
Families and individuals own the largest portion – 38 percent – of the forestland across the United States, more than the federal government or forest industry. These families support the resources and benefits Americans count on from forests – wildlife habitat, clean water, wood supplies and carbon sequestration – and have an opportunity to further enhance those benefits through increased sustainable forest management and improved practices.
“WestRock’s sustainability platform is built on our commitment to people and communities, to our customers and to a better planet,” said Kevin Hudson, WestRock Foundation board member and Senior Vice President, Forest & Recycle Fibers, WestRock. “The Family Forest Carbon Program provides an avenue to address these three key areas by improving the health of our forests and wood fiber supply, tackling climate change and supporting the communities in which we source our wood fiber. We are excited to work with AFF and TNC who are leading the way on conservation innovation here in the U.S.”
“Family forest owners want to do what’s right by their land, yet these individuals often hit roadblocks, such as cost, when it comes to taking action to improve their forests in ways that make a meaningful impact,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of AFF. “WestRock’s leadership and Foundation investment to help develop this program will open the door for forest owners to be part of a solution needed for our planet.”
TheFamily Forest Carbon Programis a new approach to climate change mitigation that more readily opens carbon markets to small family forest owners. Carbon markets have traditionally been cost prohibitive to small forest holdings, those between 20 and 1,000 acres, and complex to navigate. The Family Forest Carbon Program provides a path to participation, simplifying the process and reducing cost, providing technical assistance and creating incentives for family forest owners to adopt enhanced management practices. This will help landowners maximize sustainable forest practices that can further reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and improve the productivity of their lands, ultimately keeping working forests as forests.
The WestRock Foundation’s investment will enable expansion of the Family Forest Carbon Program in Pennsylvania where it is currently being piloted. It will also support further scientific development of the program’s carbon accounting methodology, which is being validated byVerra, the non-profit organization that oversees the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This development and validation is a critical step in the advancement of the pilot into broader availability for landowners.
Companies interested in learning how they can be a part of this effort should visit, theFamily Forest Carbon Program webpage.