As Forestry Officer for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), my job involves working with timber and pulp companies to improve corporate sustainability and transparency, specifically the disclosure of policies, commitments and information relating to environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practice. Information on ESG issues is particularly important for investors and buyers when making decisions about responsible investment and sourcing.

It was therefore a privilege to attend the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) 125th Anniversary Congress, from 18-22 September in Freiberg, Germany. As a global network of forest scientists, IUFRO boasts more than 15,000 members in 120 countries, and provides a platform for fostering dialogue and exchange of scientific knowledge.

The IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress focused on a range of topics including mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and creating jobs and income through forest science. During the conference I presented on the expansion of SPOTT to cover 24 timber and pulp companies operating in critical tropical forest landscapes, and highlighted the importance of meeting the ESG requirements of investors and buyers through enhanced disclosure.

Originally developed to assess palm oil producers and traders, SPOTT features detailed frameworks of ESG best practice indicators for palm oil and timber and pulp companies, assessments for which will be published in November 2017.