Supplementary letter to the Clerk of the
Committee from Mr Stuart H White, acting Head of Public Affairs,
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
I am writing in response to your letter, dated
24 June 2002, in which you requested more information in response
to the statements made by DEFRA that they had "engaged with
WWF, Greanpeace and Friend of the Earth, right from the word go
. . .". I have spoken to Rachel Hembery, WWF's Forests Policy
Officer who deals with WWF's partnership with DEFRA in relation
to the purchase of timber from sustainable sources, and she has
provided me with the following statement.
"In August 2000, I emailed my DEFRA contactMr
Bob Andrewto offer the assistance of WWF with regard to
implementing the new timber procurement policy. Along with other
NGO's we made a number of suggestions to DEFRA, eg improving their
website so that guidance for timber buyers is clear; identifying
the largest construction company working with government to ensure
they are aware of the change in policy and identifying a pilot
project where independently certified timber can be used, to name
but a few. To date, none of the suggestions put forward to DEFRA
have been implemented.
In the last 2 years, I have been in contact
with Mr Andrew regularly. WWF have commented on the study they
have contracted ERM to complete in order to identify what a credible
forest certification scheme is and Mr Andrew has been trying to
find a suitable pilot project.
It was not until April 2002 that I was contacted
by Mr Roger Hinds, just after the Greenpeace action at the Cabinet
Office, in order to attend a meeting in London as finally, a suitable
pilot scheme had been found. It transpired that it was not really
a suitable pilot project. The reason being that uncertified tropical
timber had been specified and cut specifically for this project.
Our idea of a pilot project is to find a potential refurbishment
or new build that has not already gone against government policy!
The only official announcement that has been
made that WWF are working in partnership with Government was in
the PQ  answered by Mr Elliot Morley MP on the 17 December
2001. No one in Government has ever formalised this partnership,
although my offer originally made in July 2000 was "warmly
WWF has put a lot of effort into trying to help
Government and have not really made much progress. It has been
a frustrating time!"
I hope you find this information useful and
please contact me again if you wish to clarify any points raised
in the letter.