Beijing, June 10, 2008—IFC, a member
of the World Bank Group, today announced that it has invested in Nature,
one of the largest flooring manufacturers in China, to help develop the
company’s sustainable wood sourcing and promote sustainable development
of the flooring industry.
The $20 million equity investment and $30 million long-term loan will help
Nature implement its growth strategy in the next three years. The financing
will enable the company to develop plantation forests in the Jiangxi Province
and establish a steady supply of certified wood. This will help position
the company as a leading player in the sector and bring economic benefits
to local communities.
Nature plans to increase its independently certified wood, with a long-term
goal of 100 percent certification. The China Forest Trade Network, the
national body of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest and Trade Network,
will regularly assess the company’s progress on these targets. Sustainable
sourcing promotes sustainable forest management, which allows for wood
production without deforestation and does not contribute to climate change.
Se Hok Pan, Chairman of Nature, said, “IFC is not only providing Nature
with long-term financing, but more importantly offering strategic views
to help China’s wood companies grow in a sustainable way. IFC’s standards
will also help us become a responsible corporate citizen where we operate
around the world.”
“We are very pleased to partner with Nature in addressing the challenges
of sustainable wood sourcing,” said Richard Ranken, IFC Director for East
Asia and Pacific. “Responsible stewardship of natural resources is a business
fundamental. Those who ignore it will find themselves displaced by more
efficient competitors or excluded from supply chains that feed key markets.
Working with companies that understand these challenges and are committed
to addressing them is core to IFC's strategy in China.”
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for Global Manufacturing and Services,
added, “The project will not only help Nature obtain sustainable sourcing
and improve resource efficiency, but also help consolidate and rationalize
China’s flooring industry.”
China is by far the largest growth market in the forest products sector.
Wood consumption is estimated at 337 million cubic meters a year. With
limited domestic forest resources, wood imports into China have risen 16
percent a year during the past decade. For hardwood, imports are estimated
at 8.4 million cubic meters a year. Nature’s hardwood demand represents
less than 1.5 percent of this figure, and the company has committed to
sourcing targets that will help eliminate unknown sources of wood from
its operations by the end of 2009 and 100 percent verified legal supply
by the end of 2011.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth
in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing
private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing
advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s
vision is that people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve
their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional
$3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments
in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
For more information on the project, please visit: