A British NGO has recently prepared and distributed a report on the activities of Sodefor and Forabola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This biased, paternalistic, and politicized report has been widely picked up and shared by certain international media outlets.
Sodefor and Forabola strenuously contest all of the accusations against them and which are contained in this report.
Furthermore, they are not the subject of any accusations or legal proceedings by any qualified authority.
Sodefor and Forabola are aware that they operate within a special kind of industry, and continue to seek ways to improve the quality of their services. They regularly work with relevant third party consultants to carry out independent audits concerning their operations. The goals of these actions is to constantly reflect on the management of forestry activities from an environmental, social, and governance perspective. Recommendations relating to alternative approaches, which may be adopted to develop a sustainable form of management for the forest and social practices, have always been taken into account. Sodefor and Forabola will not be apart from this principle in the future.
Today, as they have been in the past, Sodefor and Forabola are ready to respond candidly to any potential interrogation by any relevant authority with regards to their activities. All general announcements which may be useful to their customers or to the wider interested public will continue to be published through the website www.sodefor.net.
Sodefor and Forabola do not, however, intend to submit to the NGO’s unfounded injunctions and reserve the right to demand, through any available means, reparations for the harm unjustly caused to them.
Created in 1994, Sodefor is a Congolese private limited company. It first became active in the province of Bandundu, 400 km northeast of Kinshasa.
Forescom was a state company, nationalized in 1974 and dissolved in 1990, with an industrial saw unit and a plywood unit in Nioki.
The State made all the concessions (Supply Guarantees) held by Forescom through a memorandum of agreement signed by associates. The surface area of the supply concessions transferred to Sodefor exceeded 1,700,00 Ha.
The troubles that took hold of the country beginning in 1996 prevented logging in a large part of these areas, and even led to the total shut-down of the Nioki industrial unit in 1998/1999. It should be emphasized that despite this shut-down, the company kept the Nioki hospital continuously operational during this period, as well as the entire regional health zone.
In the early 2000s, the State granted the company new forest titles, far removed from war zones, in order to guarantee supply to its Kinshasa factories, which was bought back from Sokinex in 2001 and includes a sawmill for the production of plywood and a peeling line
Today, with its 1,500 employees and two processing units in Nioki and Kinshasa, Sodefor is firmly committed to sustainable management and is a leading company in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For Sodefor, business is synonymous with social and environmental responsibility.
This willingness to do good and contribute to sustainable development is founded on three pillars:
- The economic pillar, without which the other pillars are not possible, is the guarantee of the company’s profitability and longevity.
- The social pillar must ensure that the company’s very existence constitutes a benefit for its employees and the riverside communities by contributing to the amelioration of their living conditions.
- The environmental pillar takes into account the environmental impact of the company’s activities.
- Se conformer aux exigences légales, tant nationales qu’internationales, applicables à nos activités Respecter les droits fonciers et d’exploitation des terres et des ressources forestières ;
- Respecting the legal and traditional rights of the property’s indigenous people with regards to logging and the management of their farm land and resources.
- Maintaining or improving sustainable social and economic well-being for forest workers and local communities;
- Promoting the efficient processing of many forestry products and services with the goal of ensuring their economic profitability and generating a large number of environmental and social benefits;
- Preserving biological diversity and its associated values, as well as preserving unique and fragile water resources, grounds, ecosystems, and landscapes, in order to maintain the forest’s ecological functions and its integrity;
- Developing management plans for each of the concessions (all of SODEFOR’s concessions will have a management plan before the end of 2019. Several management plans have already been created and submitted for the approval of the minister, others will follow before the end of 2018).
- Continuously evaluating the state of the forest, the production of forestry resources, the traceability chain, and management activities, as well as social and environmental impacts;
- Identifying forests with high conservation values and taking precautions in order to guarantee their conservation of the improvement of the attributes that define such forests.
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République Démocratique du Congo
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