Responsible forestry

On the fourth day of the Asia Pacific Forestry Week, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) held a session ‘FSC: It’s Role in the Region and the Global Market-Its Contribution to a Green Economy’, writes Kristen Carusos.

Logging in Amazon forests with forest certification

The FSC is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization with internationally recognized forest management standards through certification. Margareta Renstrom, from the World Wildlife Fund, used case studies to emphasize the positive impacts of FSC certification. Before the FSS certifies a company, it identifies both minor and major problem areas. The biggest non-compliance violations are incorrect reduced impact logging techniques, negligence to rare and threatened species, and health and safety for workers. After these problem areas are identified, companies can begin to progress in their responsible forest management policies. In Malaysia, responsible forestry according to FSC standards is critical for the survival and healthy growth of endangered wild cat populations.

The FSC is implementing generic standards across the globe and tailoring them to individual countries. The FSC, as well as the legislature of the Lacey Act and ‘Due Diligence’ in the European Union, strives to stamp out the illegal timber trade. It is working to develop technology that will track and verify the supply chain from every level to further verify that the timber is not illegally harvested. Corruption plays a huge role in the illegal timber trade because often policies are not implemented or enforced and documents are falsified.

There are very few companies that exemplify corporate social and environmental responsibility quite as well as IKEA. IKEA will not buy timber without knowing the origin of the wood, or from illegal logging, social conflict zones, geographically identified high conservation value forests, or genetically modified organisms. They will not buy wood from Southeast Asia and have implemented due diligence to secure the legality of the wood. They have set an example for corporations around the world, but still face many challenges especially with the Russian supply of timber. IKEA has implemented policies in order to track each step of the production process and they must approve the supply chain of timber before contracts are signed. All of these organizations, corporations, and individuals have created the foundations for responsible forestry, curbing the international illegal timber trade, and increasing public awareness about these vital environmental issues. The foundations have been laid and the future is looking brighter.

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