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IFC Helps Major Hardwood Floor Company in China Source Sustainable Wood


Beijing, June 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it has invested in Nature, one of the largest flooring manufacturers in China, to help develop the company’s sustainable wood sourcing and promote sustainable development of the flooring industry.

The $20 million equity investment and $30 million long-term loan will help Nature implement its growth strategy in the next three years. The financing will enable the company to develop plantation forests in the Jiangxi Province and establish a steady supply of certified wood. This will help position the company as a leading player in the sector and bring economic benefits to local communities.

Nature plans to increase its independently certified wood, with a long-term goal of 100 percent certification. The China Forest Trade Network, the national body of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest and Trade Network, will regularly assess the company’s progress on these targets. Sustainable sourcing promotes sustainable forest management, which allows for wood production without deforestation and does not contribute to climate change.

Se Hok Pan, Chairman of Nature, said, “IFC is not only providing Nature with long-term financing, but more importantly offering strategic views to help China’s wood companies grow in a sustainable way. IFC’s standards will also help us become a responsible corporate citizen where we operate around the world.”

“We are very pleased to partner with Nature in addressing the challenges of sustainable wood sourcing,” said Richard Ranken, IFC Director for East Asia and Pacific. “Responsible stewardship of natural resources is a business fundamental. Those who ignore it will find themselves displaced by more efficient competitors or excluded from supply chains that feed key markets. Working with companies that understand these challenges and are committed to addressing them is core to IFC’s strategy in China.”

Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for Global Manufacturing and Services, added, “The project will not only help Nature obtain sustainable sourcing and improve resource efficiency, but also help consolidate and rationalize China’s flooring industry.”

China is by far the largest growth market in the forest products sector. Wood consumption is estimated at 337 million cubic meters a year. With limited domestic forest resources, wood imports into China have risen 16 percent a year during the past decade. For hardwood, imports are estimated at 8.4 million cubic meters a year. Nature’s hardwood demand represents less than 1.5 percent of this figure, and the company has committed to sourcing targets that will help eliminate unknown sources of wood from its operations by the end of 2009 and 100 percent verified legal supply by the end of 2011.


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