In 1994, the RBF began encouraging sustainable forest management (SFM) to provide a continuous yield of high-quality forest products while preserving the ecological integrity of healthy, self-perpetuating forests. The supply side of this endeavor required the development and accreditation of regionally appropriate forestry standards that would protect the livelihoods of communities that rely on commercial forestry, while preserving wildlife habitats and watersheds. The RBF made grants to the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) to evaluate and accredit certifiers, encourage development of standards on a regional level and within countries, and strengthen forest management capacity worldwide. The demand side required increasing corporate interest in purchasing sustainably managed wood products. The RBF, together with the MacArthur Foundation, supported the 1997 creation of a North American Forest Products Buyers Group to raise the level of corporate demand for products. The RBF also made grants to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which established a working group drawn from major U.S. conservation organizations to do membership outreach on SFM. To educate grassroots forest advocates, who might otherwise have been hostile to SFM and NRDC’s high-level efforts, the Fund supported the Western Ancient Forest Campaign and the Wilderness Society’s public relations and media strategy. Today a quarter of global working forests are FSC certified and another quarter are certified by other systems. This market based approach helped to change an industry by first creating standards and then fostering demand for those high standards.
Browse the major events in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's history