How to expand the market for sustainable timber products? New co-operation models and networking initiatives for a real impact.
The demand for forest products certified by the Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) and other sustainable forest management schemes is
increasing around the world. A high proportion of this strong market
growth is driven by businesses. Consumers have not been reached to the
same extent. In spite of the fact that the FSC Label is being
increasingly recognized by consumers, most have a poor understanding of
what responsible forestry actually means.© Rainer Sturm/pixelio.de
Companies involved in trading FSC certified forest products consider, above all, the positive environmental aspects – like fresh air, clean water and maintained biodiversity – that are provided by well-managed forests to be the key argument in promoting FSC goods to consumers. Social aspects, such as improving the working conditions of lumberjacks, are the second most important aspect for companies adhering to FSC standards. Industries that in particular use and trade sustainable timber products are those involved in printing, publishing, paper and packaging as well as manufacturers of wood products like furniture. These companies have an interest in helping consumers have a better understanding of what FSC certified means. However, the negative images of intensive forest management and irresponsible logging conveyed by the media over many decades makes it difficult convincing the public of the realities and positive aspects of modern forest management.
One strategy for increasing consumer awareness of the positive aspects of certified goods is to co-operate and build linkages with other schemes that also need to appeal to consumers and/or relevant decision–makers. The co-operation between FSC International and the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), aiming at dual certification of small-scale forest owners and communities above all in developing countries, is such an example. Market development for these products is challenging but an important success factor. Another example is the co-operation between Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and FSC in various projects that aim at increasing the number of purchases of sustainable forest products by public organizations. In addition, more and more consumers and companies are choosing to invest responsibly, and linking different sustainability trends such as green investments with carbon offsetting is becoming popular.
The responsibility of governments to support sustainable forestry on a global scale can be exerted in many ways. Public procurement of sustainable forest products wherever possible is just one option. Conversion of nationally owned forests to forests in which sustainable principles are adhered to is another. The Dutch Sustainable Trading Initiative (IDH) developed yet another approach: they have initiated a strategic concept to replace various commodities including timber with products only from certified sources for government organizations and associated companies. If this initiative caught on it could lead to responsible purchases throughout the whole European Union.
Currently, certified forest areas make up a bit more than 10% of the total forest area world-wide. Innovative approaches in communication are essential if the market is to grow further. In addition, the actors involved in responsible forestry need to take care to not lose credibility and to stick to the principles and criteria of sustainable forest management.
|Moderator: Tuulia Syvänen, |
Executive Operating Officer, Fairtrade International
|Setting the scene: Marcelle Peuckert, Business Development Director FSC International Center |
FSC certification: strong growth, and what is next?
|Best Practice Case: |
Rainer Swidersky, SCA Graphic Paper Germany and spokesman of German FSC Paper Working Group
The EU paper market goes green, but do consumers understand sustainable forestry?
|Best Practice Case:|
Emma Arvidsson, COOP Switzerland
The business case for certified wood – rewarded by consumers or industry driven?
|Best Practice Case:|
Harry Assenmacher, ForestFinance
Supply of certified wood: sustainable investments for sustainable forests?
|Best Practice Case: |
Ewald Wermuth, IDH Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative
How to increase demand for sustainable tropical timber in Europe?
- Identify bottlenecks that limit the introduction of products from responsible forest management into the marketplace and discuss solutions.
- Propose actions to reach more consumers.
- Propose actions to involve more companies.
- Collect ideas for new co-operative models that have a greater impact.
- Discuss linkage opportunities with other sustainability movements.
- Forest Stewardship Council: Market Information http://ic.fsc.org/market-information.345.htm
- Forest Stewardship Council: Facts and Figures http://ic.fsc.org/facts-figures.19.htm
- Forest Stewardship Council: FSC and Fairtrade Dual Labelling Pilot Project http://ic.fsc.org/dual-certification-pilot.203.htm
- Sustainable Timber Action: STA Toolkit http://www.sustainable-timber-action.org/toolkit/
- Sustainable Timber Action: Background Report "CUTTING EDGE: COMBINING SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND FAIR TRADE FOR PUBLIC PROCUREMENT" http://www.sustainable-timber-action.org/fileadmin/files/STA_Toolkit/STA_background_report_final.pdf
- Sustainable Timber Action: Report "HOW TO COMBINE FAIR TRADE AND FOREST MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION" http://www.sustainable-timber-action.org/fileadmin/files/STA_Toolkit/HOW_TO_COMBINE_FAIR_TRADE_AND_FOREST_MANAGEMENT_CERTIFICATION_Final.pdf
- The Sustainable Trade Initiative: Tropical Timber http://www.idhsustainabletrade.com/timber