We’re committed to sustainable and responsible forestry.
We’re committed to sustainable and responsible forestry while developing the economy and improving living conditions for people living in and around our concessions.
Our forest concessions in the Republic of Congo cover around two million hectares (ha) which are managed by our subsidiary Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB). Around 1.8 million ha are FSC® certified. CIB is the longest holder of FSC certification in the Congo Basin.
A quarter of the area of our certified concessions is permanently protected from forest operations, reserved for the communities and as protected areas. In the harvestable areas, we’re committed to strictly apply Reduced Impact Logging techniques and harvest at levels significantly below those permitted by national regulations.
This approach to sustainable forest management is based on a selective harvesting model defined by the natural regeneration capacity of the forest. This means we cut approximately one tree per hectare every 30 years. CIB-Olam is the pioneer in RIL initiatives in the region.
Minimising Road Development
Road development is important to support timber operations but it’s minimised to ensure temporary roads are closed after harvesting. To reduce the impact of temporary access, we’ve developed a digital approach using GPS mapping and customised algorithms to identify the shortest route, protect indigenous trees and minimise damage to young ones. By removing human error, this saves time and fuel, and is expected to reduce total distance of trails built since implementation in 2018 by 113 kilometres.
Protecting Wildlife & Preventing Illegal Hunting
We support eco-guards employed by the government and other organisations to prevent illegal logging and poaching of animals, including large apes and elephants. Partnering with the international NGO, the Wildlife Conservation Society, we conduct sensitisation campaigns to educate employees and communities about the importance of environment protection, and to explain fauna legislation rights. We maintain dedicated areas within our concessions to enable indigenous people to continue traditional subsistence hunting of small game locally, excluding buffer zones around the National Parks.
Fire Prevention & Management
Due to the permanent semi-humid climate, the risk of fire in Congo's forests is low. However some forests in proximity to savannahs may pose a potential risk. As part of our forest management plans (last reviewed in May 2020), we’ve put in place a fire response and management procedure to prevent and respond to fire hazards in industrial sites.
Through our continued engagement, we’re raising awareness of fire-risks, and we monitor for incidents of fire with the local communities, which in some instances means the burning for land preparation for subsistence agriculture.