30 Sep 2010


Gibson logoGibson, the celebrated US guitar manufacturer, has pledged to eliminate illegal timber from its supply chain and has made a commitment to source all timber from FSC-certified forests in the near future.

The commitment to sustainable and ethical procurement of timber follows an investigation of the company by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Lacey Act.

The on-going investigation follows a raid on the company’s US manufacturing plant in November 2009 during which Madagascan rosewood was seized.

Rosewood logsHowever, Gibson are not waiting for the outcome of those investigations, which could result in fines of up to $US500,000, before taking action on their supply chain.

Gibson Chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz has committed the company to a 100% FSC-certified future and has engaged the Rainforest Alliance as a partner to assist the company with making the necessary changes.

Gibson is implementing a six part strategy to guide its progress:

1) eliminate risk in the supply chain by identifying potentially illegal or unsustainable sources, banning future purchases of ebony or rosewood from Madagascar, and requiring all future purchases to be from documented legal sources.

2) establish a baseline of the entire supply chain to determine which come from known or unknown, legally verified, or sustainably certified sources (FSC as the goal).

3) commitment to source FSC-certified or Verified Legal wood, with progress against the baseline independently audited by the Rainforest Alliance and formally reviewed by Gibson’s Chairman and CEO each year.

4) continued investment in the sustainability of the supply chain, providing support community, indigenous and small and medium-sized enterprises working toward FSC certification to help build more FSC-certified supply.

5) establish alternative sources to reduce the need for rare woods, including composite materials, recycled woods, and sourcing from FSC-certified forests whenever possible.

6) an individual has been appointed to lead Gibson’s wood sourcing initiatives globally, as well as people within each division and mill, who will be accountable for sourcing tracking and improvements.

FSC_Gibson_guitarsThis decisive move towards FSC is not a complete turnaround for the company as it has been exploring sustainable timber options for around 10 years and has previously marketed FSC-certified instruments.

However, the current investigation into the company’s timber procurement policies has emphasised the need to get their house in order both in terms of sustainability and ethics.