|As part of her lecture series on the dangers of deforestation, Emmanuelle Grundmann raises awareness among future architects on the determining role they can wield in the forest certification process.|
What is the link between architects and the preservation of biodiversity and forests?
Architects are the link between the forest and the building. From their imagination spring forth projects that use various forms of wood. Because it is highly ecological, wood has become increasingly popular and widely used. Which wood to use? Local? Exotic? What impact does this have on the environment? And what criteria should we trust to select timber obtained sustainably, without harming the resource, that is to say the forest? These are questions facing architects, which is why we have organized these conferences to raise awareness amongst architecture students. Forests are often distant, especially those under tropical latitudes, and it is often difficult to identify the impact logging has on the climate, on biodiversity, and on the livelihoods of the populations that depend on these forests.
What are the conferences like? Are they well received by students?
These conferences are intended for architecture students at various levels. Architects who have made wood their material of choice also participate. They put forth questions that they have long considered and which resonate with the rest of the conference.
The number of participants is highly variable but there are often many questions, especially on very specific certification issues (audit methods, the price of certified wood, etc. …), biodiversity, the coexistence of forest inhabitants and loggers.
What is certification?
Certification helps orient consumers in the purchasing process. A logo needs to indicate that the wood or paper they are about to buy is sustainable (ecologically, socially, and economically) and does not contribute to forest loss. However, there is a multitude of labels, most of which are created by the logging companies themselves.
One certification logo earns the approval of almost all players (despite certain problems linked notably to the certification of plantations, which is quite problematic): the FSC certification (Forest Stewardship Council). It not only certifies forest developers but also the entire chain of custody. This means that when you buy a finished product with a certification number, you can go back up the entire chain to the tree from which it originated. Each actor must be FSC certified (sawmill, printer, distributor …). This helps fight against the far too common excesses: imagine a table made of FSC certified wood packed in a carton made from the pulp of primary forest timber ….
How can each of us help preserve forests?
First and foremost, by remaining vigilant. And by being informed. When we buy a forest issued product, even from European forests, examine the exact origin of the wood, what species was used, if the product was FSC certified or not. There are brochures and websites (including WWF, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth) that provide lists of species to avoid because they have been over-exploited and are therefore endangered today.
This outreach program, officially launched on September 28, 2010, by Jacques Chirac, President of the Fondation Chirac, and Frederic Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication, and sponsored by Jean Nouvel will be held in the 20 national schools of architecture (ENSA).
May 2 to 6, 2011: the Festival “Vert, Ca y’est” (Green, finally), award ceremony for the “A’BOIS” competition at the ENSA of Versailles
May 11 and 12, 2011: Arbois Roundtables on “L’alimentation dans le monde” (Food in the World) – Paul Cézanne University, Aix-en-Provence
June 29, 2011: Conference on Forests – Brussels
11 et 12 mai 2011 : Tables rondes de l’Arbois sur le thème : « Nourrir le monde de demain – Avec quel climat ? quelle agriculture ? quelle alimentation ? » – Université Paul Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence
29 juin 2011 : Conférence sur les forêts – Bruxelles