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Singapore Green Label Reviews Benefits of Forest Certification Systems

Oct 23 2015

"With the ongoing review of forest certification, there has been no final decision by the Singapore Green Label as to whether global forest certification systems such as FSC and PEFC will continue to be accepted next year," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, after discussions with the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) following media reports saying that SEC is reviewing its criteria for the Green Label.

"Given that public procurement policies globally recognize the tremendous benefits that PEFC provides to safeguarding forests worldwide, we expect that support for forest certification systems will remain an integral part of the Green Label," Mr. Gunneberg continued.

The Singapore Green Label is a seal of endorsement on its environmentally-friendly claims to prevent the abuse of green-washing. Administered by SEC, the label is the region’s most established eco-labeling scheme with over 2,800 unique products certified across 25 countries.

"We review and revise our product criteria regularly to ensure that the Green Label remains the best in class so that Singaporean consumers are confident that their selection of a product carrying our label is a positive choice for the environment. As a part of this robust process, we will continue to assess products that carry global forest certification systems such as PEFC and FSC, to ensure they meet the high standards on environmental sustainability," said Edwin Seah, Executive Director of Singapore Environment Council.

“We will continue to engage directly with major global certification systems like FSC and PEFC as part of our on-going consultations with stakeholders and research on various forest certification systems,” explained Mr. Seah. 

With independent assessment by major public procurement policies, for example in the Netherlands and the UK, giving both forest certification systems high marks, there are strong indications that both PEFC and FSC perform well on the ground. PEFC is the world's leading forest certification system, with almost two-thirds of the world's certified forest area and more than 16,000 companies certified to PEFC's globally recognized Sustainability Benchmarks.

"Forest certification is one of the most effective tools promoting sustainable forest management," explained Genevieve Chua, Managing Director at Spicers Asia.  "It is therefore important for SEC to include both PEFC and FSC within the Green Label to enable consumers to support responsible forestry, empowering them to make responsible purchasing decisions."

Consumers globally consider certification labels as the most reassuring proof that environmental and sustainable development considerations have been taken into account, according to the PEFC/GfK Global Consumer Survey. The overwhelming majority - more than 80% - want companies to use labels on products to communicate their responsible sourcing practices to them. The survey showed that PEFC and FSC enjoy a similarly high level of trust among consumers.

"We have closely studied PEFC and FSC and have come to the same result as all independent assessments – that both global forest certification systems deliver sustainability," said June M. Alvarez, President of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, which is in charge of the National Ecolabelling Programme - Green Choice Philippines. "The best way to achieve our objective of enabling consumers to make responsible choices and to reward forest owners for their sustainable practices is therefore to recognize both labels within our eco-label. Anything else would be counterproductive."

"For an organization working with PEFC and smallholders, indigenous peoples and community-based forestry members, multi-sector eco-labels such as the Green Label that recognize forest certification within their criteria, aid our joint efforts to encourage people to manage forests sustainably," said Lorenz Freiherr Klein von Wisenberg from the International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA).