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Why is it our duty to protect the forests?

Why is it our duty to protect the forests?

As a brand that makes things primarily out of wood, we feel a certain responsibility to observe and celebrate the International Day of Forests. Our use of renewable resources and natural materials compels us to go above and beyond when it comes to taking care of the planet – with reforestation and revitalization of forests at the core of our efforts. Today we tackle the topic of corporate responsibility towards sustainable development and forest conservation.

Environmental care and corporate social responsibility

Where does our sense of duty towards the environment and society come from? Why do we feel obligated to intensify our efforts towards a sustainable future? Shouldn’t corporations focus solely on manufacturing goods, providing services, and creating new jobs? Not entirely. The Corporate Social Responsibility business model gained traction in the United States during the 1950s. To begin with, information about CSR could only be found in professional managerial studies and was defined as the “obligations of businessmen to pursue their policies, to make their decisions or to follow their lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of society.” With time, the concept of CSR gradually disseminated and its definition expanded: it became “a company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates”.

How then, does CSR relate to environmental protection and looking after our forests? Ethical conduct, sustainable development, and improving quality of life are all inextricably linked to ecological endeavors like reforestation and carbon footprint reduction. Companies can honor their social and environmental responsibility in a variety of ways - tree planting is one of the key activities we can (and must!) undertake. Forests play an important role in regulating the climate, preventing floods, minimizing the risk of soil erosion, maintaining the optimal water cycle, manufacturing oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, and, most importantly, making life possible for both humans and animals. Additionally, our mental and physical well-being benefits significantly from regular forest baths. Hence, while caring for our forests, we also care for our society.

How do we look after the forests at Oakywood?

Every day, the talented craftspeople at our Oakywood workshop process wood and build wooden products. Forests are where we get the materials we work with - without them, we wouldn’t be able to operate (or we’d have to make all our trays, chargers and desks out of plastic - something we’d sincerely like to avoid). Planting trees benefits us and allows us to evolve and thrive as a brand. But that’s not all. Manufacturing wooden accessories is not the sole reason for our efforts to save the planet. Notably, we regularly participate (both directly and indirectly) in planting trees that will not be cut down — as is the case with forests cultivated by the Forever Forest foundation. We are aware of the immense significance of forests and we wish to repay Mother Nature with interest for all she continuously provides.

While we may encounter many challenges along the way, the satisfaction we derive from making new Forever Forests outweighs them all. Availability of land is amongst the most testing. This is partly because the right of pre-emption gives State Forests access to land which is the most optimal for sustaining the new generation of forests. This is also the land we wish to buy the most of. Meanwhile, post-agricultural land is often drained of nutrition and over-fertilised, which creates rather hostile conditions for a young forest to grow. We try to counteract that by using mycorrhiza - fungi that aid the seedlings in amassing minerals.

Invasive species such as the northern red oak, black cherry, and Canadian goldenrod pose yet another great challenge. This group of plants, brought here from all over the world, takes up more and more space but lacks any of its natural regulators. It poses a significant threat to our indigenous species as invasive plants are quick to create monocultures, which restrict native fauna and flora from flourishing. To this day, we have no effective ways of combating this ‘invasion’.

Forever Forest

Our social responsibility as a brand doesn’t just translate into planting trees. We believe that sourcing our materials from responsible, sustainable suppliers is equally as important - only then can we claim our products are environmentally friendly. The oak and walnut wood we use is FSC-certified, which means it has been verified to comply with sustainable forestry at all stages of its journey. We also meticulously plan our production process to ensure we use each log in its entirety, thus avoiding wasting resources.

This year’s International Day of Forests is a great opportunity to reflect on whether our efforts towards environmental protection and revitalization of forests are enough, and what more can be done on our end. We will continue supporting organizations like Forever Forest and One Tree Planted and keep taking part in tree-planting excursions.

Our Foundation knows how important it is to #TeamUp. Only together can we begin to change reality on a larger scale. Similarly to a biodiverse forest that draws strength from its variety, we believe mutual support and collective efforts are the way forward. We are thrilled to see companies involve themselves and their employees in environmental initiatives. And this is probably the most important part of working with our partners. We cherish gathering amongst nature, planting forests with our own hands and friends, and feeling connected with the space that will, from this point forward, be ruled by nature, forever. It is a beautiful experience to be able to witness people rediscover and cultivate a feeling we often forget - being a part of nature.

Forever Forest

 

We also hope that, in the future, we will find even more ways to look after our forests. If you have any ideas for new planet-saving initiatives, let us know! We’re always open to your ideas.