National Academies Press: OpenBook

Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop (2009)

Chapter: XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue

« Previous: X Agua para Todos: Water for All--Cortnie Shupe and Julia Steets
Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×

XI
The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance

William Sugrue

U.S. Agency for International Development (retired)

ABSTRACT

The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance (SFPGA) was established, via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in July 2002 as a partnership of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Certified Forest Products Council (CFPC). CFPC later became Metafore.

USAID is the (non-military) foreign assistance agency of the U.S. government. It maintains a worldwide presence through its resident “Missions,” primarily in developing countries. WWF is a global non-profit organization committed to the conservation of nature. In 1991 WWF established the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), the entity of WWF responsible for implementing the SFPGA. With its corporate partners GFTN promotes and facilitates trade in forest products from certified and well-managed forests. Metafore is a small non-profit organization, established in 1997 (as the CFPC) to promote purchasing practices in North America that support the conservation, protection, and restoration of forests globally.


The goal of SFPGA, through a partnership of government, NGOs, and the private sector, is to reduce the scope of destructive and illegal forestry practices worldwide by expanding the proportion of internationally traded forest products sourced from forests certified as sustainably managed. Although the founding partners were governmental and NGO, from the outset, potential partners in the for-profit private sector were consulted since SFPGPA was envisioned as a public–private partnership involving,

Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×

and influencing the behavior of major private sector producers, exporters and consumers of forest products. Early private sector actors targeted included Ikea, Home Depot, Time-Warner, Staples, and Anderson Windows among others.

An explicit incentive to aggressively pursue public–private partnerships was created in USAID in 2001 under the leadership of a Global Development Alliance Secretariat, empowered to provide matching funds to successful USAID technical staff proposals in which public–private partnerships were integral to the proposed programmatic initiative. The incentives for WWF/GFTN and Metafore to join the SFPGA included additional financial resources flowing from USAID, a global partnership with USAID/Washington headquarters that might increase the stature of their programs in the eyes of the large private sector firms whose cooperation they needed to achieve their sustainable forest management goals, and in the case of WWF/GFTN enhanced access to USAID missions and American embassies. The large private sector firms sought lessons learned in the movement toward sustainability in management of forests, a resource upon which their future depends, green branding, improved supply chain efficiency, and linkages with other firms concerned with sustainability and good legal standing.

USAID and WWF had a long history of collaboration. Both NGOs had in place significant, established partnerships with major private sector firms in the forest products industry. USAID provided $3 million the first year and committed to maintaining that level of funding, although financial support has drifted downward to $1.4 million in FY 2007. USAID total funding, through FY 2007 was $10.7 million, WWF has contributed $34.2 million, Metafore $1.6 million.

The NGO partnerships with the large for-profit firms are not formally part of the SFPGA although essential to its on-the-ground success. Private sector firms early on found USAID’s pace and bureaucratic requirements did not match their work style; USAID had no legal mechanism suitable for establishing a “partnership” with the private firms anyway. It did have in place and utilized donor–grantee mechanisms to cement relationships with the two NGOs, thus establishing USAID in the role of funder, not partner.

The SFPGA partnership has had a significant market-driven impact on improved management of forests. The value of forest product sales from well-managed forests associated with the GFTN rose from $5.9 billion in Sept. 2003 to $42 billion in Sept. 2007. The area of forest managed by GFTN participant companies increased from 10.4 to 26.6 million hectares over the same period and the number of GFTN participants that own or manage forests increased from 23 to 78 companies.

Market forces are now much more supportive and encouraging of legal, sustainable, and certified forestry than was the case pre-SFPGA. But these market forces are not yet genuinely self-supporting. The technical chal-

Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×

lenges are complex and the market does not yet fully reimburse the costs of seeking, or even accomplishing biological sustainability. It appears unlikely that certified forest management will be sustainable purely by market forces in the near term.

No funds are generated by SFPGA activities that then flow back to the SFPGA to sustain it and its activities. Decisions on its future are made in USAID, and the value-added (except for money) to USAID or to the WWF and Metafore by USAID’s continuing participation is being questioned.

USAID, WWF, and Metafore managers agree that the SFPGA is not a true partnership of the three organizations. It is not really even a partnership of WWF and Metafore. The two NGOs have virtually no relationship whatsoever, except that of sharing a funding source—USAID.

The true partnerships are those linking WWF/GFTN and Metafore with the private sector. USAID has not partnered with any for-profit firm for three reasons. First, USAID was unable to identify a funding mechanism that was appropriate for a partnership even with a longtime “partner” such as WWF, let alone with a for-profit firm. Second, potential for-profit partners found USAID’s processes slow and onerous. Third, the NGOs tried consciously to keep distance between USAID and their private sector partners. The NGOs saw these as very separate relationships rather than part of a broad public–private sector partnership. The NGOs’ relationships with the private sector relied on a high degree of mutual trust and with a great deal of proprietary information on the table during discussions. Neither the NGOs nor the firms were comfortable having the government in the room and neither felt USAID had much to offer in the pragmatic, nuts and bolts discussions typically carried out when forging a partnership.

SFPGA has had a significant, positive environmental impact on the global trade in forest products by employing market forces. As a public–private partnership, in the view of all three “partners,” it has left much to be desired. Nevertheless, the rhetoric of partnership which surrounded its launch, and which justified the SFPGA in USAID policy terms, freed significant resources in support of what were undeniably partnerships among NGOs and the private sector, thus making possible the substantive impacts and forest product market reforms which the SFPGA was conceived to address.

Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×
Page 81
Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×
Page 82
Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×
Page 83
Suggested Citation:"XI The Sustainable Forest Products Global Alliance--William Sugrue." National Research Council. 2009. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12541.
×
Page 84
Next: XII The Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C)--Petra Kuenkel, Vera Fricke, and Stanislava Cholakova »
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships: Summary of a Workshop Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $43.00 Buy Ebook | $34.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Sustainable development--meeting human needs while nurturing and restoring the planet's life support systems--requires a continuous process of scientific innovation, new knowledge and learning, and collaborative approaches to implementing technologies and policies. To address these challenges, different stakeholder groups are increasingly seeking to ally themselves through partnership, in order to implement projects, deliver services, establish secure funding mechanisms, and achieve on the ground results. Advocates of this collaborative approach point to the failure of governmental regulations, international commitments, or business as usual. However, skeptics often question the effectiveness of partnerships at achieving sustainable development goals and, in the absence of demonstrated results, wonder where partnerships are adding value.

A symposium held in June 2008 and summarized in this volume, attempted to advance the dialogue on partnerships for sustainability in order to catalyze existing knowledge and inform future efforts. Ideas that came out of discussions at the symposium will help leaders in government, the private sector, foundations and NGOs, and universities, both in the United States and internationally, as they develop and participate in new partnerships for sustainability.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!