As an important hub for global production and trade, the Asia region has a strong influence on the environmental sustainability of international forest products. It is vital to build supply chain capacity and increase the availability of certified timber across this region. The Asia Promotions Initiative, with offices in China and Japan, therefore works to raise awareness, build capacity and encourage the uptake of PEFC certification throughout Asia.
Increasing the recognition of PEFC and the growth of Chain of Custody certification in both countries is one of the objectives of the initiative. Since it began in 2007, ambitious promotional programs have been implemented annually, combining company visits, seminars, training sessions and exhibitions, together with ongoing public relations activities. Through this extensive work, PEFC Chain of Custody certification in the region has risen 14 fold, from 52 in 2007 to 710 in 2013.
Another objective is to enable PEFC sustainable forest management certification in both China and Japan. Given the volume of wood imported, domestic forest production and the large exportation of wood products to international markets, providing forest owners with a viable option to obtain PEFC certification is a strategic priority for the organization.
A significant step was taken towards this goal when the China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) became a PEFC national member in 2011 and submitted the national Chinese Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS) for PEFC endorsement in September 2012. The endorsement process is now ongoing. PEFC recognition of the CFCS would lead to PEFC certified forest area in China.
In Japan, the Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (SGEC) has expressed interest in pursuing PEFC membership. The SGEC was established in 2003 to improve Japanese forests and forestry related activities and since its creation it has achieved the certification of approximately 1 million hectares of forest.
Market outreach is an important aspect of the our work in China, and a focus of the 2013 plan is concentrated on promoting certification within state owned and domestic companies in the country. Throughout the year PEFC China Initiative - the Chinese branch of the Asia Promotions Initiative - organizes and participates in a wide range of conferences and workshops, such as the Forest Certification Workshop in Beijing held in early 2013. Face-to-face seminars with representatives of the paper, packaging and publishing sectors are also regularly carried out, representing one of the principle methods employed to encourage companies to apply for Chain of Custody certification.
Along with market outreach, PEFC China Initiative has been offering periodic support to CFCC during the development of the scheme and now during the PEFC endorsement process. For instance, the initiative has been actively providing technical advice on meeting PEFC’s requirements, translation of scheme documentation, and assisted CFCC establish the CFCC Stakeholder Forums. The first of these Forums – which were created as a long-term platform to facilitate interaction between Chinese stakeholders - was held in January 2013, with more planned for later in the year. Providing training for auditors in the country is yet another way that PEFC China Initiative looks to support CFCC and increase levels of certification.
As part of their 2013 plan, PEFC Japan Initiative is targeting the timber, publishing and printing, energy, and financial sectors with the goal of increasing Chain of Custody certification. The PEFC Japan Initiative works towards this target by participating in a variety of events, such as the 28th Japan Kenzai Fair and Eco-Products 2012 Tokyo, and through PEFC Introductory Seminars.
The bi-monthly PEFC Introductory Seminars, launched in 2012, cover the basic elements and latest information on forest certification and PEFC. The five seminars conducted in 2012 were attended by PEFC-certified companies, prospective companies, media, government, academics and foreign embassies. Specific attention was given to the inclusion of companies and organizations that are not yet certified.
In response to the intent of joining PEFC expressed by SGEC in 2012, PEFC Japan Initiative has also been extending support to the preparatory work.
While the initiative’s core focus has been in China and Japan, interest and demand for PEFC is growing rapidly throughout Southeast Asia. PEFC therefore expanded the scope of the Asia Promotions Initiative in 2012, delivering the support needed to increase certification in the region.
Outreach activities are now conducted on a regular basis in several Asian countries, such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and South Korea. Recent events include a joint PEFC and MTCC exhibition at the MTC GlobalWood Mart in Malaysia, the ATIBT Conference in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and a range of training seminars and company visits throughout the region.
PEFC’s presence continues to expand, with the Indonesian Forest Certification Cooperative (IFCC) becoming a PEFC national member in November 2012, joining the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), a member since 2002, which has already achieved the PEFC certification of 4.6 million hectares of natural forest. Further Asian countries have shown interest in developing a national forest certification system, including Myanmar, Nepal and South Korea.
To continue the expansion of PEFC’s uptake in Asia we are currently looking for new funding partners to join our efforts.
For more information, please contact:
Head of Projects & Development, PEFC International