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Finance Institutions Commit to FSC
Bonn, Germany, 13 June 2007 -- Three key financial institutions in Belgium and the Netherlands are set to use more FSC-certified timber and paper. They seek to encourage good forest management practices through their own procurement. Furthermore, this influential sector has great scope for creating positive effects on forests globally.

ING Bank and PME Pension Funds from the Netherlands, and Belgiun Banking Group KBC België signed a mutual agreement in May with their respective FSC National Initiatives, FSC Netherlands and FSC Belgium. These concrete agreements commit the companies to use FSC-certified timber in development projects and FSC paper in their daily business practices.

One of Belgium’s largest banks, KBC België, committed to reduce its total paper usage and to increase the use of more recycled and FSC certified paper. Having used 3417 metric tonnes of paper in 2006, KBC is a major consumer. This mutual agreement sets a precedent in Belgium and sends a clear message that any Belgian company can do the same. Furthermore, KBC hopes to carry this commitment to those countries in Eastern Europe where the company is also active.

The mutual agreements with Dutch PME and ING brings the total number of FSC Netherlands financial partners to four. ABN AMRO and Rabobank previously signed a mutual agreement with FSC Netherlands, which is seeking to expand further in the sector.

“The financial sector is influential. It is a major user of paper and timber, while its investments cover real estate, shareholdings in the forest and timber, and forest ownership. All together, this gives a great boost to our aim of achieving a 25% market share in 2008.” explains Jesse Kuijper, chair of the FSC Netherlands Board of Directors.

Dutch PME, the consolidated pension fund for the metal and electrical industries, is the first pension fund in the Netherlands to sign a mutual agreement. Furthermore, it is unique in that its forest related investments are tied to FSC Principles and Criteria.

“For its new forestry investments in the United States, PME has agreed with the forest managers that they will switch as far as possible in the coming years to responsible forestry, compliant with FSC requirements,” says J. van der Windt, pensions director. “Furthermore, we are switching to FSC paper in our daily business practice. That involves millions of sheets of paper every year."

The signing of the mutual agreement for sustainable timber and paper fits admirably with the Dutch ING Bank’s views on responsible business practice. Their paper quantities consumed run into thousands of tons every year. The company will ensure the paper they do use is FSC certified, and choose FSC certified timber when purchasing office furniture.


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