The INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II’s forest holdings in Lithuania have been internationally certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the global authority in forest management standards, as being managed in accordance with the requirements of sustainable forestry.
The Forest Management certificate, which was received by the fund’s indirectly owned company Šalnupis, commits it to manage the forests responsibly and sustainably in terms of environmental protection, community needs, and the economic role of forests.
“Forest management certification is a voluntary process which requires open dialog with all the stakeholders associated with a forest – the local communities, government institutions and economic actors. Stakeholders can at any time present recommendations and opinions about how the fund is managing the forests it owns,” says Sigita Bizulienė, Partner of the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II.
FSC certificate is granted only after forests are audited by independent experts. It is valid for 5 years, though audits of the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II’s forests in Lithuania will be conducted at least once a year to assess compliance with the requirements of the certificate (NC-FM/COC-067275).
One of the most important FSC requirements states that commercial activities should not be conducted on at least 10% of the forest area managed by the fund to leave biologically valuable forests to their natural dynamics or by means of nature management measures to individually adapt and maintain the necessary habitat structure for sensitive and protected species.
The requirements of the FSC certificate also call for a greater focus on sustainable forest use: the volume harvested per year must not exceed the annual volume gain. Average annual felling volume is set to be less than 95% of the annual growth.
“The fund was managing its forests according to sustainable principles even before FSC certificate, so there are no major changes, except that we now have more opportunities to sell our timber at competitive prices. Some in the timber industry only buy certified timber products, thus our list of buyers has grown. Certified forests clearly create value for investors. But forests are not just a source of timber, and wherever they are, whether in Lithuania or elsewhere, they need to be managed with focus on resilience improvement to survive for centuries and continue providing their many benefits to people and the environment,” notes Martynas Samulionis, Managing Partner of the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II.
The FSC standard for Lithuania includes 10 principles and 56 criteria. The standard is treated as the compulsory guidelines for certification compliance and was developed considering national forestry specifics. The criteria include compliance with all laws, respect for the rights of workers and locals, maintaining ties with the community, and pursuing long-term economic, social and environmental benefits from the forest. The principles also encourage environmental protection, sustainable forest use planning, maintenance, restoration, monitoring and conservation of valuable forests.
Launched in 2020, the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II invests in forest and farmland in the Baltic region and Central and Eastern Europe, seeking to manage them sustainably with a long-term view.
The fund’s portfolio is managed by INVL Asset Management, part of INVL, the leading Baltic investment management and life insurance group.
About the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II (STAFF II)
The fund invests in forests and farmland in the Baltic Sea region and the Central and Eastern parts of the European Union, seeking to manage them sustainably with a long-term view, and is intended for institutional and private investors from the EU countries.
The fund operates under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and invests in specific countries in keeping with the regulatory restrictions set out by those countries.