“A significant milestone for safeguarding global forests”
17 September 2014 News
“It gives me great pride and pleasure as Vice Chair of PEFC International to provide you with some introductory remarks at such a prestigious event to celebrate the launching of the Chinese National Standard for sustainable forest management.”
Sheam Satkuru-Granzella, PEFC Vice Chair, during her keynote remarks at the International Workshop on Forest Certification, held by the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) this week in Beijing, China.
“The presence of several speakers from countries around the world reflects the internationalism, importance and significance of the development and implementation of the CFCC (Chinese Forest Certification Council) system."
“This is a system which has been in development since 2001 and we were proud as the world’s largest forest certification scheme to have endorsed the CFCC earlier this year.”
“The endorsement of the China Forest Certification Scheme by PEFC represents a significant milestone for safeguarding global forests given the importance of China in the forest products value chain and its substantial forest area. Through CFCC, China will actively promote both forest management and Chain of Custody certification to ensure the long-term sustainability of its forest sector, especially considering the millions of people it employs and the natural resources it relies on.”
“China currently has the highest afforestation rate of any country in the world, increasing its forest cover from 12% thirty years ago to more than 21% in 2013. The country is continuing to implement policy measures to increase the quality and quantity of its forests and aims to bring forest coverage to 23%, or 223 million hectares, by 2020. For this alone, we have to congratulate China in anticipation for its tremendous efforts towards achieving these goals.”
“We hope that the process of developing and implementing a national system in China will also inspire other countries in the region supplying China to follow its example and promote sustainable forest management through PEFC certification.”
“A range of other countries in the region, including India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand are advancing in national system development and exploring options for eventual international recognition by PEFC.”
“PEFC is proud of the partnership with its members and in particular the CFCC. Similarly as with Malaysia, the PEFC approach to respecting the tenets of federalisms, has meant that China has chosen to participate in partnership with PEFC to allow timber products from sustainably managed forests to be recognized worldwide. PEFC respects the sovereignty of countries and the right to develop national standards in the manner most suitable and adapted to national conditions. In China, the fundamental principles for the national scheme implementation are that it has been guided by government and supervised by society. We have shared metastandards developed out of the intergovernmental processes including ITTO amongst others and following ISO processes, utilizing national auditors and national accreditation processes. This has resulted in the development of a system which has been through a rigorous transparent assessment process which lasted over a year and we were delighted when this resulted in endorsement by PEFC earlier this year.”
"Partnerships are two way processes. We have seen that here in China (as we will learn from several presentations during this workshop) the stakeholders have gone further than just sustainable forest management certification. They have even developed a Bamboo standard and also a Non Wood Forest Products Standard which will be placed on top of the sustainable forest management standard. All the 38 member countries in PEFC will be able to benefit from the leadership shown and experience gained by our Chinese partners when we start the revision of our international metastandard. I understand that a presentation of experiences gained will be made at the PEFC Week in Paris, France in November. This will allow all our members to benefit from the experiences which our China colleagues will share on the challenges and opportunities of developing such standards.”
“Certification is facing several challenges and opportunities which we need to face together. We already have 10% of the world’s forest area certified accounting for some 30% of all traded timber but we all know that this is not enough. We are reaching a tipping point where certification is becoming an essential component for anyone wanting to trade timber globally. This is due to increasing public (such as European) and private (such as the Consumer Goods Forum and Banking Environment Initiative) are requiring evidence of sustainable timber products and certification like PEFC and CFCC delivers.”
“In facing these challenges, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the good work we have been engaged in over the last 15-20 years is not put at unnecessary risk. Increasingly, society is looking for catch all sustainability certification systems and that has the potential for lowering the sustainability thresholds for other commodities, potentially to the competitive disadvantage of timber. An even greater risk is that generic sustainability certification systems reduce the thresholds for sustainability in forestry as we understand it, allowing bad forestry practices to be wrapped into wider criteria for sustainability products. We have seen the EU do this for biofuels where minimal sustainability standard criteria are adopted and we need to be vigilant that the good work thousands of stakeholders have been doing for the last two decades is not put at risk to the detriment of the plant. A new and interesting phenomena is “landscape planning” and for that one presumably needs landscape certification.”
“Rather than regarding these as risks, we should look upon them as opportunities and we have many of the tools already which organizations are grappling to develop. For example, through our multisite and group certification and regional planning approaches we have shown how multiple stakeholders can collaborate constructively and agree on approaches to landscape management. These skill sets need to be transferred to other sectors and we need to ensure that the expertise and experience for the forestry sector is recognized and adopted to ensure that forest certification not only remains relevant but also enhances society’s approaches to sustainable landscape planning certification and products thereof.”
“We have an exciting selection of speakers today and tomorrow and I can only wish all of you a highly successful, productive and informative two days.”