Hanson clarinets completes world’s first chain of custody for sustainably harvested African blackwood.

Posted on by Amy Hinsley

Following the first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate for community-managed natural forest in Africa (supported by Global Trees Campaign partners the Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative), clarinet players will soon have the choice of buying environmentally and socially sustainable instruments after Hanson Clarinets also became FSC certified in March 2010.

The FSC-certification of Hanson Clarinets, the UK’s largest clarinet manufacturer, completes the world’s first FSC chain of custody for sustainably harvested African blackwood.

The chain of custody links all handlers of FSC-certified African blackwood, starting with forest harvesters in Tanzania and ending with instrument manufacturers and retailers in the West, providing consumers with independent verification that the wood used to produce their instruments originates from a sustainable source.

Alastair Hanson, Co-Founder of Hanson Clarinets says: “We are proud to become the world’s first FSC-certified maker of woodwind instruments.

“We buy our wood responsibly to help safeguard the hugely valuable natural resources of the tropical forests that provide the material needed to make clarinets.

“We hope that our commitment will help persuade other makers to join in protecting endangered species and in turn work to protect the future for forests, wildlife, communities and of course music.”

The world’s first harvest of FSC-certified African blackwood was carried out in December 2009 in a Village Land Forest Reserve managed by Kikole village, southern Tanzania, under the guidance of Global Trees Campaign partners the Mpingo Conservation Project.

Kikole received a payment of around £1,200 in return for 15m3 of African blackwood, a sum 400 times greater more than they would have received before FSC-certification.

The wood is currently being processed at an FSC-certified sawmill in Tanzania and will shortly be exported to the UK.

Neil Bridgland, Sound & Fair Campaign Manager, says: “This a massive step forward in our campaign to realise a sustainable trade in African blackwood timber and help lift some of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.

“Many years of hard work have gone into creating the required infrastructure in Tanzania to export FSC-certified hardwoods and now we have the commitment of one of the UK’s major woodwind instrument manufacturers to drive the process through.

“Very soon clarinet players will be able to make purchasing decisions based on ethical considerations as well as quality.”

Hanson Clarinets expect to launch the world’s first FSC-certified clarinet in late-2010

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Written by Amy Hinsley

Amy has a background in botanical conservation and worked for the Global Trees Campaign for over three years before completing a PhD on the international trade in orchids. She is now working on wildlife trade (with a botanical focus) at UNEP WCMC.

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