Fairtrade International and Forest Stewardship Council Cooperative Pilot Project Restores Hope to Depressed Region in Chile - Kährs of Sweden is First to Order

By Ab Gustaf Khr, PRNE
Thursday, May 19, 2011

NYBRO, Sweden, May 20, 2011 - The once degraded forests in the Curacautin Valley in Chile have now
recovered sufficiently, after hard work over the last decades, to be able to
help provide a sustainable living to the people in the area, based on fair
trade and responsible forest management principles. Wooden floor maker Kährs
from Sweden is the first company in the world to support and purchase
dual-labelled material from Chile that meets both FSC and Fairtrade
certification standards.

(Photo: www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20110520/455877 )

In the early 20th century a saw mill was constructed in Curacautin,
Chile. It made plywood from the trees in the forest around the area, creating
much wealth in the region. Up to one thousand employees and their families
were dependent upon the operation. In the early 1980's the saw mill was
closed when all of the large trees of the valley had been used up. This
mismanagement of the forest led to large scale unemployment, landscape
alterations, caused changes in water flow, destroyed wildlife habitats and
negatively affected the livelihoods of the indigenous Mapuche people.

Now the Curacautin Valley is becoming one of the first in Chile to
re-establish its native forest, providing its inhabitants with income through
both responsible forestry technique and eco-tourism. Chile has put into place
responsible forestry regulations and rights for the indigenous people. On the
initiative of SSC Forestry Group of Sweden a new sawmill has been built in
Curacautin, the local community has been provided with forest education and a
group of small forest farmers has been organized to manage the forest
resources in a sustainable way.

Having both FSC and Fairtrade certification will provide incentives -
such as market access, fair pricing and the Fairtrade Premium - additional
funds to invest in social, economic and development projects. This will
benefit the local farmers, the workers in the forest and in the saw mill as
well as the local communities. The project was undertaken to demonstrate that
the land has more value as a working forest rather than other non-sustainable
alternatives. Wooden floor maker Kährs of Sweden is the first company to
place an order for the FSC and Fairtrade dual-labelled timber from Chile and
it will begin later in 2011 to produce flooring products, initially in
limited volumes.

- We are proud to be able to contribute to this development. Our hope is
that we can help alleviate poverty and restore biodiversity, through offering
the first flooring made of FSC-Fairtrade certified wood in the world Says Per
Skårner, CEO of Kährs.

- We want to encourage companies that share our common values of respect
for nature and people to partner up with us in this important Corporate
Social Responsibility project, he continues.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the
International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management,
conservation and development of all types of forests.

Kährs floors are brilliant examples of modern ideas, reflecting old
wisdom. With more than 150 years in the business, we are one of the leading
and oldest producers of wood floors in Europe. We are also one of the most
innovative, with a history of groundbreaking wood flooring technology. Kährs
was founded in 1857 in the small town of Nybro in southern Sweden. And this
is where we still have our hearts, main production plant and head office. We
work with local, national and global organizations to ensure sustainable
forestry. Welcome to read more on www.kahrs.com

For more information please contact: Bruce Uhler +46(0)702530476,


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