Amy Smith is manager of wood sector engagement at the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, a longtime Domtar partner. As the leader of the Global Forest & Trade Network (GTFN), her role involves ongoing private sector engagement and a steadfast commitment to sustainable sourcing. Although she has made conservation her career, she believes that all consumers can make a difference, as well.
Why are you passionate about increasing forest certification? Well, because I care about forests. What I’ve seen on the ground, here in the United States and in other important forests around the globe, is that responsible forest management and credible forest certification really makes a difference in what’s happening on the forest floor.
Why did you choose to focus on corporate partnerships? Something that I’ve observed over the course of my career in conservation is that there has been a real shift. The engagement between the private sector and environmental NGOs has gone beyond being just a philanthropic relationship to something that includes engagement on responsible supply chains. These types of collaborations are a tangible step towards the conservation and sustainable use of forests. Working together on responsible sourcing of forest products can certainly help to reduce supply chain and brand risk and increase production efficiencies—there are all kinds of benefits.
Why should the general public care about sustainable forest management? Responsible forest management can benefit all of us—no matter who we are. Forests provide goods and services that humans, wildlife and the planet all depend on. They purify the air we breathe, they filter the water we drink, they’re home to 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, they provide the wood and paper products that we rely on every day and they also regulate our climate.
I think sometimes people feel overwhelmed and like they might not be able to make a difference, but that’s simply not true. Everyday consumers actually can make a difference by choosing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified products. FSC certification helps the consumer to know that the product they’re buying comes from a well-managed forest, and that forest will continue to provide environmental goods and services for generations to come.
“I think sometimes people feel overwhelmed and like they might not be able to make a difference. But that’s not true.”
Are you optimistic about the future of forest health in the U.S.? Absolutely. I feel really encouraged by the work I’ve seen on the ground by communities and small landowners and corporations. I also feel encouraged by the increasing awareness of the public about the importance and the potential and the power of their purchasing decisions.
How do you hope to make a difference? I hope to make a difference by walking the talk. I know that I can make a difference in the work that I do at World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and in my engagement with the private sector and with companies like Domtar. And I also hope to make a difference in my everyday life, by choosing FSC certified products, by consuming only what I need and by making sure that the behaviors I demonstrate reflect the values that I have—and I value forests.