Caring for our forests globally
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“Together, interdependently, we will make the difference”

Nov 17 2017

ben speech GA 2017“We need a paradigm shift in how society perceives the whole forest/tree value chain,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, as he opened the 22nd PEFC General Assembly, in Helsinki, Finland.

“Society is at a crossroads and the strategic direction we choose will provide the opportunity for us to demonstrate the real value of sustainable forests and their contribution to society in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

“Climate change, a growing urban global population, cooperation challenges, are all issues we have to tackle, by demonstrating how forests are an important part of the solution,” Ben highlighted.

“For too long, society has perceived forestry as part of the problem rather than the solution. By working interdependently with a positive, can do attitude, sharing knowledge, working together, helping each other and acting at local, national and international level, the PEFC family of some 50 plus national forest certification systems (and still growing) can and will change society’s perception and place forests at the heart of the solutions to these challenges.”

“Interdependent. This means being mutually reliant on each other. As a global alliance of national forest certification systems, everybody is independent, but by engaging collaboratively, we can leverage the impact of the work we do, and achieve so much more.”

“I am asking you to reflect carefully as to what we can do to support the whole organization and act on those reflections. Likewise, think about what help you need from others and ask for that help. Together, interdependently we will make the difference,” Ben continued.

Forestry is the past, present and future!

general assembly 2017Ben also took the opportunity to highlight some of the fantastic and collaborative work undertaken by PEFC members around the world.

For example, PEFC member SFI in North America, is now the new home of Project Learning Tree (PLT), which is helping some 700,000 educators to introduce the next generation to importance of sustainability.

“I am delighted to see many of our members are already thinking more broadly than just forest certification. They are engaging with the public, reaching out to young people, getting creative. And even more importantly, they are doing this work in the spirit of collaboration.”

To find out more, take a look at our special edition PEFC Week newsletter.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Gareth Goldthorpe, our winner of the 2017 PEFC International Photographer of the year Award, for his stunning photograph ‘Morning Star’.”


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PEFC Certified

Forests area: 307 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 20,000

(as of September 2018)

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