TotalEnergies has bought a 49% stake in Compagnie des Bois du Gabon (CBG) from Criterion Africa Partners. In doing so, the French major seeks to develop a forward-looking model of sustainable and responsible forest management that combines sustainable harvesting, biodiversity conservation, and long-term carbon storage.
Criterion Africa Partners had entered the capital of CBG back in 2016, supporting the harvesting of 150,000 m3/year of mixed tropical hardwood species and processing logs through the company’s own manufacturing facilities.
“CBG’s sawmill produces lumber for both local and export markets, while its rotary veneer plant produces Okoume veneer for The Joubert Group which is Europe’s largest plywood producer,” according to Criterion Africa Partners.
“The forest management model applied by the partners will make it possible to develop a new balance between, on the one hand, the harvesting and local processing of sustainable wood combined with carbon storage and, on the other, the production of related carbon credits thanks to the reduced impact of forest operations, reforestation, agroforestry and conservation of natural forests,” TotalEnergies said in a statement.
This is not the first such project of the international oil company in Central Africa. In March 2021, TotalEnergies had already announced a partnership with Forêt Ressources Management and the Republic of Congo for the plantation of a 40,000ha forest on the Batéké Plateaux. The new forest will sequester over 10 million tons of CO2 over two decades and will be certified according to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) standards.
The new forest in Congo will also effectively create a carbon sink and support the development of agroforestry practices with the local communities for food production and sustainable wood energy.