Last May, 11 organizations founded the Forest Legality Alliance, dedicated to reducing trade in illegally harvested forest products, increasing transparency in forest product supply chains, and supporting global supply chain efforts to deliver legal wood and paper. Supporters agree that, to be sustainable, forests must be managed properly. But in many regions of the world, forests are under threat from illegal logging, which includes the harvesting, transport, and/or sale of timber outside national or local laws. Besides undermining forest sustainability, illegal logging can lead to unplanned deforestation, biodiversity loss, and greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result of recent amendments to the Lacey Act, the U.S. now prohibits trade in illegal forest products.

Founding members of the Forest Legality Alliance include American Forest & Paper Association, Environmental Investigation Agency, Hardwood Federation, IKEA, International Wood Products Association, NewPage Corporation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Staples, U.S. Agency for International Development, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and World Resources Institute.

NewPage, a paper manufacturer headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, is a major provider of coated paper for the book publishing industry. Brian Kozlowski, NewPage director of sustainable development, says NewPage became a founding member of the Forest Legality Alliance to help spread information about the importance of legal timber harvesting. "The alliance is helping to make supply chains in the forest products industry aware of legality policies and the importance of complying with them, how the industry can collaborate in legality tools, and how they can assess business risks and opportunities. We also help them gain stump to shelf insights from other stakeholders about strategies for mitigating risk and mainstreaming legality."

"We're doing our part in sustainability as a forest products supplier," Kozlowski concludes, "but we're also encouraging the global supply chain to adopt practices that are legal as well as sustainable."