India Launches Process to Develop Forest Certification SystemMar 16 2015
“With forestry in India being at a critical crossroad, the decision to develop our own national forest certification system will be an important driver to promote the sustainable management of our forest resources,” said KK Singh, Chairman of the Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF).
“While India is among the world’s most forested countries, we also have a growing demand for wood products, and unsustainable use of forests, for example for wood fuel, is a significant challenge,” continued Mr. Singh. “Forest certification will help us not only in mainstreaming sustainability in forest management, but also in raising awareness with companies and consumers about the importance of sourcing and buying responsibly sourced wood products.”
The process to develop India’s forest certification system was launched today at the “International Conference on Forest Certification – Positioning India”, co-hosted by NCCF and PEFC International. The conference brought together government, business and civil society stakeholders to discuss the status of forests in India and to learn from international experts about the benefits of functioning certification systems of sustainable forestry in other countries.
Organizations such as ITC, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), Chemical and Allied Export Promotion Council of India (CAPEXIL), Quality Council of India (QCI), International Network for Bamboo And Rattan (INBAR), Green Initiatives Certification & Inspection Agency (GICIA), Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Lok Vaniki Kisan Samiti, Building and Wood Worker’s International (BWI), Greenply and State Forest Departments participated in the conference and pledged support for the development of an Indian national system. Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India has also extended its support to this initiative and has nominated two members in the Governing Council of NCCF.
“It is promising and inspiring to learn about the strong support in India for the development of a national forest certification system in alignment with PEFC’s globally recognized Sustainability Benchmarks,” said Sarah Price, Head of Projects and Development at PEFC International, welcoming the announcement.
“We appreciate the commitment by government officials, industry stakeholders, civil society representatives and forest owners and managers to collaborate on moving this process forward, and we strongly believe that a future PEFC-endorsed Indian national forest certification system will have a positive impact on forest management far beyond India, given the country’s strategic position in international markets,” concluded Ms. Price.
The development of the Indian national forest certification system will benefit from the experiences of other Asian countries, with China, Indonesia and Malaysia already benefitting from PEFC-endorsed systems, with Japan anticipated to apply for global recognition through PEFC shortly. Other countries, including the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are at various stages in the development of their respective national forest certification systems.