Monday, January 21, 2008

Zambezi Organic Forest Honey - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Zambezi Organic Forest Honey (Oxford OH) was founded by two former Peace Corps volunteers who spent time in Zambia Africa. "The Lunda people of northwestern Zambia have wild-crafted honey from wild forest bees for over 500 years. Sustainable organic beekeeping is a way of life for the Lunda people, who use honey as food, to make mead, or as a natural medicine."

"The remote Miombo forests of Zambia have one of the highest densities of wild bee colonies in the world. Spanning more than 11,000 square miles, these pristine forests cradle the headwaters of the mighty Zambezi River. Untouched by modern civilization, this is one of the last remaining biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. By helping Zambian farmers access new markets for their organic honey, we help them to value and preserve their vital forest ecosystem" by generating a viable income from a forest resource other than deforestation.

Zambian beekeepers who register with the company cooperative gain access to free training on sustainable beekeeping, agriculture, and forestry practices; free education for literacy, mathematics, and small-business skills; free beekeeping supplies; and farmers are under no obligation to sell solely to the company, fostering further economic growth of the region. They pay, on average, 40% above market prices for the organic honey and their collective currently has 5000 registered beekeepers. In addition, "Zambezi Honey donates a portion of profits back to Zambia for projects such as malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS education, school scholarships, and rural-income generation grants."

When you purchase Zambezi Organic Forest Honey, you "can have an impact on environmental health and on farmers who live and work halfway around the world."

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

1 comment:

Rubinger said...

Opinion: Monopolies Are Not Good for the Environment

Availability of Sustainable Wood Products Hampered by Certification from Forest Stewardship Council

Exclusivity Drives Up Prices and Steers Builders to turn to Petroleum Products and Other Non-renewable Resources.

FSC Exclusivity Could ‘LEED’ to Other Environmental Problems
Long before people in the “new world” began to understand the risks of dwindling timber supplies, European countries saw first-hand the potential danger of over harvesting.

From Germany’s proactive, 18th-century commitment to renewable forestry, to England’s reforestation efforts in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, many countries learned these lessons well.

In this tradition, The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) was founded in 1999. Stemming from the rich, long-time traditions of sustainable forestry in Europe, PEFC has grown to impressive, global proportions. Today, the Sustainable Forest Management criteria it uses are supported by 149 governments worldwide, covering 85% of the world’s forest area.

PEFC respects and integrates each country’s forestry practices, using a structure that works in tandem with local governments, stakeholders, cultures and traditions. Yet, in some circles, the PEFC and its European roots are inexplicably frowned upon.

For instance, in today’s “green” building movement, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is the most successful such program in the world. Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED system is now in use in more that 14,000 construction projects in 30 countries, including all 50 United States.

However, lumber used for LEED construction projects must be certified by just one entity—the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

As the demand for green, renewable resources continues to grow, why does LEED insist on this exclusive arrangement with a single certification scheme?

Both the FSC and the PEFC use independent third-party certification, providing abundant reassurance that the wood originates from sustainably managed forests. They include oversight by all vital stakeholders—member countries, non-governmental organizations, landowners, social groups and others.

Within each group’s framework, the national governing bodies from individual countries and regions develop standards with substantial opportunity for public review. And both provide clear chain-of-custody tracking and labeling that assure end users of legal and environmentally sound harvesting.

One independent industry consultant showed how the PEFC even goes beyond FSC standards when it comes to conformity with a number of ISO certification and accreditation guides.

This FSC-LEED exclusivity is especially baffling when you remember that PEFC certification represents about two thirds of all certified forests globally, which in all account for about a quarter of the global industrial roundwood production.

Additionally, many FSC certified acres are owned by governments or families focused on preservation—they have no intention to harvest for building-material production. And available FSC-certified veneers are often just a fraction of the number of veneers available through the other certification schemes.

It’s clear that accepting PEFC certified wood products would open a tremendous new resource-pool for the green building movement.

Here in North America, leading national forest certification programs, such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)—both part of the PEFC—create a central source for certified timber for North America. Combined, CSA and SFI certify more than 328 million acres of sustainable forestland in North America, versus about 69 million total acres certified by the FSC.

Limiting the availability of sustainable wood products drives up prices, prompting more builders to turn to materials derived from petroleum products and other non-renewable resources. Or they turn to concrete and other materials that require significantly more energy to produce, ultimately increasing greenhouse gas emissions and leaving a bigger carbon footprint.

Left unaddressed, all of these issues could lead to further environmental damage, something that I’m sure all of us—LEED and the FSC included—would like to prevent. LEED’s acceptance of PEFC certified lumber would be a significant step in the right direction for greater, worldwide adoption of green building practices.

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Company Contact:

Doug Martin

Pollmeier Inc.

Portland, OR 97223

Phone: 503-452-5800



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