Addressing illegal logging

During the ‘New Challenges and New Opportunities towards Green Business’ session, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) described the advantages and incentives for green finance and investment, writes Kristen Carusos from the Asia-Pacific Forest Week.

Transporting timber logged from a forest located on the border with Laos.

Global Financial Institutions have adopted favorable lending practices towards international enterprises that have sustainable policies. Through these practices, more green policies have been implemented by companies throughout the world and these companies have benefited from access to loans. Banks also reap the benefits of promoting and using green investment. These environmental policies build the reputation of banks and open them up to business opportunities, competitive advantages, and new markets associated with carbon and water credits. Green investment and finance do not only protect the future of forests around the world, but are evolving into the business of the future. Green building is one of the only construction sectors that has shown resilience during the recession.

The European Forest Initiative (EFI) presented the European Union's ‘due diligence’ initiative against illegal logging. Due diligence will serve to further ensure that the timber on the European market is legally harvested. Due diligence will transcend legal validity and certification by continuously verifying the methods and practices in which the timber is supplied and will start in March 2013. The EFI defined legal logging practices as those in which there is a right to harvest within legally-gazetted boundaries, payments exist for harvest rights and timber, timber harvesting complies with environmental and forest legislation, and third parties' legal rights concerning use and tenure are respected.

The Asia Forest Partnership (ASP) organized an open dialogue on illegal logging in the session From Bali to Beijing: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges from a Decade of Work on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in East Asia and the Pacific. Panelists discussed their different experiences with Indonesia and illegal logging. Faith Doherty, from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), outlined the many illegal logging corruption problems. She noted that there is huge problem with judiciary corruption and that many illegal logging criminals are never penalized. Many representatives echoed that this corruption exists at the district level and that law enforcement and governance need to play a bigger role in punishing illegal loggers.

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