"Success of smallholders prerequisite for sustainable forestry"

We say goodbye to Bill Street as he steps down as Chairman of the PEFC International Board.

"Success of smallholders prerequisite for sustainable forestry"

10 December 2015 News

“The entire PEFC family would like to thank Mr. Street for his service as Chairman of the PEFC International Board. His 8 years on the Board of Directors as member and Chair make him the second longest serving Chair in our brief history,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, following the announcement at the PEFC General Assembly that Mr. Street is stepping down as Chairman of the PEFC Board.  

William “Bill” Street first joined the PEFC Board in 2007. During Mr. Street’s tenure of Chair, PEFC has grown from 30 member countries to 42, including China, Japan, Indonesia and Argentina. As a life-long trade union member, the social implications of sustainable forest management have always been at the forefront of his work, from requiring fundamental ILO core labor standards for forest workers to ensuring the world’s small- and family forests can achieve certification.

“While PEFC has experienced significant growth over the past years and extended its reach specifically in Asia, what has not changed are our core values and commitment to a world where people manage forests sustainably,” said Mr. Street.

“We have always recognized that the well-being and success of family forest owners and other forest dependent populations is a prerequisite for sustainable forest management. I am pleased that more international institutions and organization are increasingly aware that social degradation is the root cause of environmental degradation,” continued Mr. Street.

Bill’s work to advance human rights for workers was acknowledged in 2012 as a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from American Rights at Work for his efforts on behalf of IKEA's workers in Danville, Virginia, USA.

“It came as no surprise to us when Bill received this prestigious award,” said Mr. Gunneberg. “During his term as Chairman we strengthened and clarified some of our fundamental core values pertaining to the social aspects of sustainable forest management. From the top down, PEFC today is a leader in social standards for forest certification thanks in part to our Chair’s guidance and unwavering support of our Board of Directors.”

About Mr. Street

William Street’s experience includes: Director of Research and Education of the International Woodworkers of America, US, Chief of Staff for the Woodworkers Department of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America and the largest representative of wood and forestry workers.  Director of the Global Wood and Forestry Program for the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (now Building and Wood Worker's International), the world’s largest global trade union federation  for forest, wood, and construction workers.

Highlights of Mr. Street’s career include: projects for HIV education for rural forestry workers in Burkina Faso, afforestation projects in Ghana, Kenya, and Mali, helping women Kendu leaf workers in Orissa, India. And, assisting forestry workers in Chile and Malaysia exercise their rights to bargain for better working conditions.  He holds a Master of Science in Politics & Government from the University of Oregon and has published on poverty reduction and sustainable forestry.


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