While public perception often associates wood products with deforestation, recent developments within the wood industry show that this may not always be the case. Greenheart Group is a responsible and eco-friendly forestry company with renewable softwood plantations in New Zealand and certified hardwood concessions in Suriname, South America. We had the pleasure of holding a very insightful email sharing session with Mr. Danny Wu from Greenheart Group on sustainable forest management that creates value for both shareholders and the environment.
Who is Mr. Danny Wu, and what is his role with Greenheart Group?
CEO and Executive Director of Greenheart Group, Danny Wu has been leading the Group in growing sustainable forestry assets around the world and improving sustainability since 2015.
What sets Greenheart apart as a sustainable forestry company?
First, Greenheart is committed to following standards, laws and regulations in order to operate responsibly, reduce damage, and improve efficiency. For example, the Group is one of few in Hong Kong that achieves the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate accreditation, while also adapting CELOS harvesting systems (CHS) for forestry operations in Suriname. In addition, all New Zealand plantations are developed on lands unsuitable for farming, and replanted every 12 months using strict controls.
Second, Greenheart possesses integrative expertise in managing both hardwood and softwood sustainable forest resources in developing and developed regions. We control the entire supply chain from ownership right down to point of sale in key markets.
Third, Greenheart owns an extensive associated downstream network to extend the value chain. In collaboration with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited and New Plantations Holdings Limited (NPH) – a forest products and service company specialising in sustainable management, production and sales of wood products, the Group has substantial potential for downstream processing in China.
Has the growth in Mainland China affected international wood purchasing?
A report published by State Forestry Administration found that annual wood consumption in China, the world’s largest importer of industrial roundwood and sawnwood (FAO, 2015), rose from 326 million cubic meters in 2005, to 539 million cubic meters in 2014. As 2017 nationwide ban on all commercial logging in natural forests will intensify the import needs, we believe that China will continue to be the fastest growing import market for forest products in the world - a favourable sign for Greenheart.
How do you ensure that land bought is in a sustainable area?
It is actually more important to use the land in a sustainable way rather than buying land in a sustainable area. However, as mentioned, Greenheart also adheres to standards for responsible forest management, uses lands that are unsuitable for farming, and harvests a maximum of 2.5% annually from natural forests.
What was the reason behind choosing land in Suriname and New Zealand?
Thanks to the favourable climate, Suriname has one of the highest percentage of tropical forest covers (over 90%) but one of the lowest population densities in the world.
New Zealand is the largest log exporter to China (China Bulletin, Dec 2016), their plantations are recognised as a world leader in sustainable wood production.
Can you tell us more about the four stages of your forest management system?
In order to reduce damage and improve efficiency from all aspects, Greenheart’s four-stage forest management system involves surveying the area, planning harvest activities, pre-harvest inventory and tree selection, and lastly, completing a reduced impact harvest.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Participating in the forestry industry does not necessarily mean destroying the environment. Sustainable forestry practices harvest trees at the peak of their growth and carbon sequestration ability, replanting them with more trees in a continuous, renewable cycle. The wood in turn can substitute a range of other higher carbon materials in manufacturing and construction, such as metals, plastics and cement, and by-products used as substitutes for fossil fuels in energy production.
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