Forests for peace and well-being: PEFC at APFW

Five action-packed days for the PEFC team at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Forestry Week.

Forests for peace and well-being: PEFC at APFW

28 June 2019 Event report

Mid-June, the PEFC team travelled to Korea for the 2019 Asia-Pacific Forestry Week. One of the largest and most important forestry gatherings in the region, the theme was ‘Forests for peace and well-being'.

Ben Gunneberg, PEFC International CEO, opened our participation, speaking on the panel of the first APFW plenary session, focused on forests for peace and well-being.

“Forest certification is more than just sustainable forest management. It’s about collaboration of people to enable ongoing dialogue, conflict resolution and problem solving at all levels for peace.”

Reimagining sustainable forest certification

Later that day, our parallel event on ‘reimagining sustainable forest certification: realizing impacts in Asia Pacific’ looked at PEFC's impact after 20 years of caring for forests. 

Speakers discussed how forest certification has contributed to sustainability and the facilitation of trade. They highlighted the many advantages of certification, such as improving market access and its positive impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Certification is not just about trade, but about people and the next generation,” said Yong Teng Koon, Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC).

Pulp and paper companies use certification as a catalyst to help them identify where there are gaps. Managing forests sustainably, inclusively of local communities’ interests, is vital for their business to survive.

The session also discussed emerging initiatives to realize sustainable forest management, such as the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR). 

“There is a change of culture within companies seeing certification as an integral benefit to ensure robust internal systems,” said David Syme, accreditation and certification specialist. 

The PEFC booth and Forests for Fashion

The PEFC and KFCC booth welcomed visitors throughout the week. The Korea Forest Certification Council (KFCC), our national member for Korea, achieved PEFC endorsement in 2018 and was our partner for the event.

We also brought our Forests for Fashion initiative to APFW. Part of the Eco-Market Place in the CANopy room, we highlighted the value of forests for a sustainable fashion industry, showcasing garments made from sustainable forest fibres. 

Our other sessions included a customer event and networking lunch, inviting Korean companies to learn about PEFC and forest certification, including a demand growth perspective from European retailer Tesco.

We also took the opportunity to organize a face-to-face meeting with our Asia-Pacific members. Twelve of our members from the region shared their progress, best practices and pressure points for team input. 

Developing synergies

We ended our APFW contribution with a parallel event on the ‘development of synergies between PEFC and other initiatives such as FLEGT, utilizing experience in ASEAN’. 

A range of speakers, including our PEFC members in Indonesia and Malaysia, and representatives from the EU-FAO FLEGT Programme and the European Forest Institute, shared their experiences of how we can synergize FLEGT and certification. 

“Recognition of certification in FLEGT VPA-TLAS (and vice versa) can help simplify verification, reduce burden and limit duplication. It can also improve cost effectiveness and market access, and prevent unnecessary competition between systems,” explained Bruno Cammaert, EU-FAO FLEGT Programme.

“Through our ASEAN concept note, we are looking to promote cross-pollination and collaboration in the field of sustainable forest management certification. I hope this event will be just the start of the discussion,” concluded Richard Laity, PEFC International. 


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Richard Laity

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