THIS IS WHY
Ten years ago, Forest First Colombia (FFC) was founded, rooted in the belief that growing more trees makes for a better world. Right from the start, we were deeply committed to having a positive impact on the communities and environment where we operate.
To continually refine and share our model for certified planted forests – living, breathing, growing, and learning. Our contribution to a better world: socially, environmentally, and economically.
Growing planted forests in a responsible and cost-effective way to mitigate climate change, to meet increasing global demand for sustainable wood fibre, and to deliver value to our communities, environment, and shareholders.
The decision to base our operations in Colombia was based on over two years of research and stakeholder engagement.
To ensure our operations have a positive impact required us to conduct an extensive due diligence process to select a region that both we and our stakeholders felt confident in. After an exhaustive process, the Vichada region of Colombia was identified and selected as an ideal location for several reasons.
Forest First Colombia (FFC) was founded in 2010. We are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and communities where we operate. Our journey requires us to strive for excellence by continually learning, engaging with local, national, and international funders, stakeholders, investors and shareholders, achieving certifications, conducting research, and continual collaboration.
STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE
FFC conducts it’s business transparently, adhering to the highest industry and international governance standards. We reinforce this approach with all stakeholders, including with parties who have typically engaged in less formal practices, despite the additional burden this places on us.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
FFC supports eight of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These goals relate to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation and peace and justice.
International Third-Party Forestry Certifications
FFC currently complies with Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) sustainable forestry criteria. We intend to secure FSC certification prior to the first commercial harvest in 2021. In addition, where volumes will be sold into the bioenergy market, Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) certification will be included.
IFC’s Performance Standards
FFC has engaged third party consultants who are assisting us to ensure that all the necessary licenses and permits are obtained with the objective of fulfilling the requirements of the IFC’s Performance Standards. For example, we are committed to full compliance with the IFC’s performance standard five, requiring compensation to all individuals displaced by its operations.
Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP)
Commensurate with the 2017 investment by FinnFund, FFC developed an Environmental and Social Action Plan and instituted a stewardship process with detailed annual reporting against seven key development areas: Compliance with Laws and Regulations; Environmental and Social Competencies and Management; Communication and Training; Human Rights (including equal opportunity employment, gender diversity, and labour rights); Health and Safety; Environment and Climate Change; Anti-Corruption; and Community Development and Society Aspects.
Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS)
In addition to the ESAP from 2017, an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) is being developed in line with the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Principles and Standards, with the help of a local Colombian consultancy. FFC is also in the process of finalizing an IFC Compliant Water Management Plan.
Our Code of Conduct acts as our overall human resources policy, incorporating issues of fair treatment, non-discrimination, and compliance with national employment regulations. All FFC contractors, who will employ most of our workforce, must follow this Code. The Code clearly specifies that contractors must treat their employees in compliance with Colombian law. FFC verifies compliance on a regular basis through contractor audits. In the case of any contractor defaulting, we will seek the appropriate remedies, up to and including termination of the contract. A formal employee grievance mechanism has been developed, which is also in compliance with Colombian law. Employees can voice grievances using this mechanism, including alleged safety concerns or instances of discrimination of any kind. These policies have been communicated and explained to our staff, and through this we aim to uphold and further embed our values of respect, ethical conduct, responsibility, collaboration, effectiveness, bravery, innovation, and transparency. Management regularly engages with the workforce to ascertain if there are any grievances and regularly conducts team building activities.