Groupe Française des Jeux (FDJ), a French lottery company, is now sponsoring the restoration and preservation of biodiversity in the forest of Saint-Sylvestre, located in the region of Haute-Vienne, France. The forest, designated as a High Conservation Area, is owned by a group of FSC certificate holders and is represented by IP Forêt Services, a subsidiary of International Paper. This branch coordinates IP’s forest management actions in France.
The innovative project supported by FDJ seeks to maintain, improve and restore vital habitats for rare and endangered species. Some of these species are included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the world’s most comprehensive information source on population health of animals, plants and fungi. Because of their efforts, IP Forêt Services was entitled an FSC biodiversity claim, certifying the positive impact of its forest management practices on St. Sylvestre’s natural forest characteristics. The company counted on the support of WWF France and other biodiversity experts to implement the initiative.
What is an ecosystem services claim?
An ecosystem services (ES) claim is a title or assertion of a verified impact that forest practices have on one of the following benefits: biodiversity, carbon, recreation, soil or watersheds. Associated with FSC’s widely recognized trademark, ES claims are issued through a verification process based on the FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure and are approved by an independent certification body. They can be used by FSC certified Forest Managers and their sponsors to tell impact stories. This helps attract economic benefits to people that conserve these valuable forest assets.
Importance for the forest manager
Emmanuel Ripout, director at IP Forêt Services, states, “When the FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure appeared, we saw a new possibility to offer property owners implementation indicators that highlight the actions we take every day. The Procedure enables resource mobilization to strengthen the protection of forests, allowing our customers to join forces with us, and reinforces the environmental image of our products.”
As part of the company’s Vision 2030 goals, IP committed to conserve and restore 400 thousand hectares of ecologically significant forestland, protecting watersheds, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
For close to a decade, FSC has been part of Française des Jeux’s Corporate Social Responsibility approach. Since 2012, 100% of the company’s paper game cards are printed on FSC-certified paper. The newly sponsored ES claim builds on this long-lasting relationship: for the duration of 10 years, FDJ will support a 3-hectare set-aside area to preserve key species of bats, birds, and other threatened animals.
Aurélien Sautière, Executive Director at FSC France, believes that “this first successful sponsorship case in France is a noteworthy achievement, not only in relation to Saint-Sylvestre’s forest managers and their arduous work, but as an example of a functional payment for ecosystem services scheme that sustainably rewards people for preserving nature.” The initiative also paved the way for other upcoming ecosystem services projects with IP Forêt Services. In addition to Saint-Sylvestre forest, FDJ is now sponsoring recreational services in a national park located in Saint-Pardoux La Rivière. Christine Prouin, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Groupe FDJ, affirms: “this additional project highlights our company’s efforts to make the public more aware of the need to protect biodiversity. That is also an integral part of our mission.”
By sponsoring the protection of ecosystem services, companies can strengthen their corporate social responsibility strategy and generate valuable marketing advantages. Many businesses are realizing this potential and investing in such nature-based solutions.
If you are a potential sponsor or partner interested in similar projects in France, please reach out to Maya Bentz at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on one of our other 67 successfully verified Ecosystem Services Claims in the world, please visit our webpage.