Raising the profile of forest certification in India
With a clear need to increase the awareness of forest certification and develop the market for certified products within India, the 2017 PEFC Collaboration Fund is supporting NCCF as they raise awareness amongst stakeholders, from the forest to the retailer, highlighting the benefits of buying and selling certified products.
The forestry sector plays a vital role in India, contributing to revenue generation, employment and foreign exchange. The paper industry alone accounts for over 2.5% of the world’s paper and employs more than a million people in the country.
However, the lack of certified forests, and therefore the lack of certified forest-based products, acts as a trade barrier to companies throughout the supply chain, particularly when exporting these products to Europe and North America.
At the same time, the demand for certified products within India is low. This is in part due to the shortage of certified timber, but also due to limited awareness amongst both retailers and the public.
The Indian national forest certification system, which was developed by a multi-stakeholder group led by the Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), was launched in early 2018. Endorsed by PEFC in early 2019, the country’s forest owners can now achieve certification and gain access to international markets demanding certified products.
However, there is also a clear need to increase the awareness of forest certification and develop the market for certified products within India. This will help to ensure demand for certified timber and other forest products once the first forest owners achieve their PEFC certification.
PEFC in India
The 2017 PEFC Collaboration Fund is supporting NCCF's initiative to raise the profile of forest certification and develop the market for certified products in India. The project will raise awareness amongst a variety of stakeholders, from the forest to the retailer, highlighting the benefits of buying and selling certified products.
To ensure their work is effective, NCCF began the project with market analysis research before conducting a stakeholder mapping exercise to identify potential industries and sectors to target.
The second phase of the project focuses on strengthening partnerships. This includes liaising with government agencies in order to promote sustainable public procurement of PEFC-certified products within the country. They are also targeting the Indian branches of global brands that are already PEFC-certified, as well as one-on-one meetings with mapped stakeholders.
The third aspect of the project is capacity building. An online discussion forum complements a series of seminars and workshops aimed at several major sectors, such as furniture, pulp and paper, rubber, plywood and packaging. NCCF also conducts workshops with State Forest Departments to teach forest officers how NCCF/PEFC certification can promote sustainable forest management within their states.