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 China and Japan 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 15 fold, from 52 in 2007 to 790 by the end of 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 national Chinese Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS) achieved PEFC endorsement in February 2014, following the China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) joining PEFC as a national member in 2011.
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 our work in China, and a focus of the 2014 plan is concentrated on promoting certification within state owned and domestic companies in the country. Continuing on from last year PEFC China Initiative - the Chinese branch of the Asia Promotions Initiative - organizes and participates in a wide range of conferences and workshops. For 2014, PEFC will be present at the Shanghai Pulp Week, China Furniture Expo in Shanghai, and the 5th All in Print China. Face-to-face seminars with representatives of the paper, packaging, furniture and timber 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 also offered periodic support to CFCC during the development of the scheme - which achieved PEFC endorsement in February 2014 - including actively providing technical advice on meeting PEFC’s requirements and translation of scheme documentation. PEFC China Initiative also supported CFCC through the provision of training for auditors in the country in December 2013. Now the system is endorsed, PEFC China Initiative will continue to provide support to CFCC where needed, such as during the CFCC Stakeholder Forums and for promotional events and activities.
As part of their 2014 plan, PEFC Japan Initiative is targeting the housing, building materials, retailers, publishing and printing, and consumer goods 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 Japan Kenzai Fair and Eco-Products, 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. These seminars are attended by PEFC-certified companies, prospective companies, media, government, academics and foreign embassies, with specific attention given to the inclusion of companies and organizations that are not yet certified.
PEFC Japan Initiative has also provided additional support through training on the revised Chain of Custody standard to both auditors and Chain of Custody certificate holders, held at the end of 2013.
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, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Recent events include PEFC’s participation in BWI’s Global Wood and Forestry Conference in Yangon, Myanmar, the PEFC Certification Week in Kuala Lumpur and our presence at the International Furniture Fair Singapore. These high profile events are complemented with a range of training events, seminars and workshops that PEFC delivers in cooperation with our partners in the region.
PEFC’s presence continues to expand, with the Indonesian Forest Certification Cooperative (IFCC) submitting their national forest certification system for PEFC endorsement in November 2013. IFCC joins 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 are developing their national forest certification systems currently, including Myanmar, Nepal, South Korea and Thailand.
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
- CMPC Celulosa S.A.
- Celulosa Arauco Y Constitución S.A.
- Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd (Canada)
- Malaysia Timber Certification Council (MTCC)
- Paperlinx Singapore
- PEFC UK
- Purinusa Ekapersada (APP)
- Swedish PEFC Co-operative
- Sustainable Forestry Inititative
- PEFC Asia Promotion Japan
- PEFC China Promotions Office
- PEFC International
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