This Valentine’s Day, over a billion people around the world will exchange cards without paying attention to how the cards could be causing the destruction of rainforests and forests worldwide.
A recent test, conducted by WWF, found that Valentine’s Day cards sold in the UK by well-known greeting card retailers contained mixed tropical hardwoods. The wood usually comes from natural tropical forests. Most of the mixed tropical hardwood was acacia, which demonstrates that the wood pulp originated in Southeast Asia, namely Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia – the three countries that export large volumes of wood pulp to the UK through China.
Why does it matter?
Procurement professionals know that ethical and responsible procurement is the need of the hour, and the same holds true for Valentine’s procurement.
Indonesia and Malaysia are enduring the highest rates of deforestation across the globe and, as a result, indigenous species, such as Sumatran rhinos, orang-utans, tigers, clouded leopards, and pygmy elephants are losing their habitat and are considered threatened species.
Responsible Valentine’s procurement
If your organisation is sourcing or printing cards for Valentine’s Day, it should make sure that the acacia in the wood pulp is not sourced from illegal plantations or unsustainable forests. There is no regulation that mandates greeting cards have to be produced from sustainable wood sources. Nevertheless, organisations involved in retailing greeting cards should ensure they sell cards with a clear mark that they are made from sustainable or recycled materials. This will benefit their business because their consumers can rest assured knowing that buying the cards will not contribute to deforestation or illegal logging.
It is prudent to remember that the EU Timber Regulation is not applicable to greeting cards. Therefore, organisations should ensure that their Valentine’s procurement of greeting cards complies with this and all other applicable laws. They should work towards ethical sourcing of greeting cards and other timber products, which means working with suppliers who have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation.
Procurement professionals should check their entire supply chain to ensure that every stage of it buys products only from sustainable and legal sources.