Greenpeace teams with makers of musical instruments to help save forest habitats.



The poster art above was created to
promote the MusicWood campaign, which includes instrument makers Taylor, Guild,
Martin, Gibson, Fender and more.

 

 


There is a new sustainability initiative that partners the environmental group Greenpeace with prominent musical instrument manufacturers such as Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Fender, Guild and Yamaha, as well as artists, tonewood suppliers, instrument retailers and music industry associations that include Luthiers Mercantile Intl, Pacific Rim Tonewoods, North American Wood Products, Allied Lutherie and more.

The Greenpeace MusicWood Campaign is designed to protect threatened forest habitats and safeguard the future of the trees critical to making musical instruments. The goal of the campaign is to “increase the availability of traditional woods used by musical instrument manufacturers that can be certified to the exacting management standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),” according to Greenpeace.

Scott Paul, forest campaign director of Greenpeace USA says that it discovered much of the sitka spruce — a low volume, high value wood — harvested in Southeast Alaska had internationally known musical instrument manufacturers at the other end of the supply chain. “A lot of the logging companies in Alaska understood that musical instruments were being made from wood that they cut,” he says. “But I don’t think anyone realized how significant or how much of a percentage of the sitka spruce was ending up in the thousands of manufacturers of guitars.

“We went to NAMM (a trade association and show of the international music products industry) in January of 2006 and approached Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson, because Henry had been very visible with his environmental initiatives,” Paul continues. “He’s on the board of directors of the Rainforest Alliance. We reached out to him and asked if he would invite [other musical instrument company CEOs]. Henry did so, and we all came together for breakfast the first day of NAMM before the tradeshow opened. They were asked to come to hear a presentation from Greenpeace about their sitka spruce supply.”

Paul says that the presentation addressed the fact that the majority of the attending companies’ spruce supplies were coming off lands in Alaska where the supply of available trees of the caliber neccessary to build their instruments was — though not to the point of extinction — definitely in question.

“Our proposal was to all get together and to connect the two sides of the supply chain, creating the incentives and personal relationships to transition the land base to FSC, which will stretch out the supply,” says Paul. “Because the land management required under the FSC system would do that.”

Paul adds that some of the companies involved were already looking into these issues, but that the coalition makes the odds of making an impact greater.

“The realization on the part of our industry coalition has been, I think, very positive,” says Paul. “All of them have shown tremendous moral responsibility.”

For more information about the MusicWood campaign, visit musicwood.org.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.