In a landmark achievement for both Grupo Fósforos and the region, their subsidiaries El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos, have become the first companies in Latin America to earn the prestigious Preferred by Nature Certification. This rigorous recognition, spanning the entire production process, from forest to final products, shows their commitment to sustainability across environment, social and economic aspects.
More than just a label
Earning the Preferred by Nature Certification is no easy feat. It involves a thorough audit process that evaluates the company’s comprehensive sustainability system. This commitment goes beyond mere words, requiring concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage product carbon footprints.
El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos have been pioneers in the implementation of responsible and sustainable forestry practices in Chile since 2002. They are certificate holders of the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™), which they hold up to date. FSC certified companies can be verified against the Sustainability Framework add-on requirements during their regular upcoming audit. These requirements cover topics not evaluated by the scheme, which can be integrated with the FSC requirements to maximise the efficiency of the compliance evaluation process.
By achieving Preferred by Nature Certification, El Álamo can now proudly display the Preferred by Nature - People & Climate seal, showcasing their commitment to measuring and minimising their products’ carbon footprint.
Beyond individual sustainability
El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos’ vision extends beyond their internal sustainability practices. They want to contribute to a healthier planet by striving for carbon neutrality.
Their certified forests act as natural carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With these forests releasing life-giving oxygen, they seek to ensure this is greater than the greenhouse gases generated by the production of the products.
EU Deforestation Regulation ready
The Preferred by Nature Certification is grounded in the Sustainability Framework, a core standard defining indicators of sustainability. These indicators align with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), supporting El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos to meet the requirements of this new legislation which aims at curbing deforestation-linked products in the EU market.
Their adherence to this crucial standard helps them with hassle-free export of products, such as matches, wooden cutlery, ice cream sticks and stirrers.
Home to the largest poplar forest in Chile
Nestled in the picturesque Maule region, El Álamo manages the country’s largest poplar forest, boasting 2,671.5 hectares of FSC-certified plantations. Their sustainability efforts extend beyond forestry, encompassing 375.8 hectares under the Rainforest Alliance™ Sustainable Agriculture certification. Additionally, they have designated a specific area as a high conservation zone, recognising its cultural and religious significance for the local community.
Founded in 1913, El Álamo has long counted on the poplar tree for its various wooden products, including matches, ice cream sticks and wooden cutlery.
The company has dedicated 151.8 hectares for restoration efforts, verified against Preferred by Nature's Ecosystem Restoration Standard, with a plan to grow to 244 hectares by 2027.
Freddy Peña, Preferred by Nature’s Regional Director for Latin America, is familiar with the long path the company has taken to be where they are now.
“El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos have once again shown their commitment and leadership to implementing a comprehensive sustainability-oriented management system, with concrete actions and measures to respond to trends and market requirements, such as EUDR, and address society's environmental and climate concerns," he shares.
Durable and eco-friendly solutions
El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos were audited against standards within the Preferred by Nature Framework. One audit process evaluated both companies' forest and land management, while the other evaluated their chain of custody and traceability systems.
The scope of these certifications allows the companies to use the Preferred by Nature seal in products made from certified wood sourced from well-managed forests. One product El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos take pride in and now bears the Preferred by Nature seal is their wooden cutlery, marketed under the EKHO brand in Europe, WoodAble in the United States and Andes in Chile. These products, designed for single use, are remarkably resistant and highly biodegradable.
The wooden cutlery offers a guilt-free alternative to plastic ones by posing no harm to the environment or wildlife upon disposal.
Mr. Gustavo Romero Z., president of Grupo Fósforos felt honoured by every milestone reached in their sustainability journey. This includes obtaining the FSC certification in 2002, becoming the third company in Chile to get certified on FSC Ecosystem Services and being the first company in South America to be certified under Preferred by Nature's Ecosystem Restoration Standard.
“Being recognised with Preferred by Nature Certification is a testament to the hard work of our team and reinforces our commitment to be leaders in building a more sustainable future," he said.
For Hando Hain, Director of Strategy and Innovation of Preferred by Nature, these two companies are setting the bar for others to follow when it comes to continuous development. “We are glad to have witnessed the sustainability commitments of El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos’ throughout their journey with FSC certification, restoration verification and now through their Preferred by Nature certification. It is a testimony of their continued efforts to improve and expand their sustainability efforts to new topics and levels of performance,” he shares.
About El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos
El Álamo and Compañía Chilena de Fósforos is a Chilean company that develops products for everyday use with high-quality woods obtained from sustainable plantations certified under the highest international standards, according to a vision of vanguard and commitment to the environment and its surroundings. In addition to being a leader in the ignition market in Chile, today it is also an industrial, agricultural and forestry consortium of wood products, where all its business areas are related. Learn more.
About Preferred by Nature
Preferred by Nature is an international non-profit organisation working to support better land management and business practices that benefit people, nature and the climate. We do this through a unique combination of certification services, non-profit projects tailor services and capacity building.
For 30 years, we have worked to develop practical solutions to drive positive impacts in production landscapes and supply chains in 100+ countries. We focus on land use, primarily through forest, agriculture and climate impact commodities, and related sectors such as sustainable travel. Learn more.
About Preferred by Nature Certification
The Preferred by Nature Certification offers a solid foundation for sustainability. A cornerstone of this Certification is the Sustainability Framework. The Framework can be used through a risk-based approach for a modular evaluation of specific topics or directly as a performance-based certification standard.
The Certification draws from several existing international sustainability schemes and aligns with applicable aspects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). It also stands out as a valuable tool to capture a wide scope of core sustainability topics, contributing to comprehensive and credible Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. Learn more.