South America Promotions Initiative
The South America Promotions Initiative brought together all our members in the region, enabling them to build capacity, plan marketing campaigns and enhance coordination at national, regional and international levels. Through the project, these members initiated new marketing activities and grew demand for PEFC certification and certified products.
Our four members in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay represent PEFC in South America. They all have endorsed systems that collectively cover 4.7 million hectares of forest.
While these national systems are all well established and deliver robust certification programs, there remained a need to strengthen market demand for PEFC in the region; to maintain and grow certified forest area. There is also a significant opportunity to grow Chain of Custody certification and PEFC recognition in all countries, for both domestic and international markets.
Following a regional meeting in April 2015 in Montevideo, Uruguay, our members - CERFOAR (Argentina), CERFLOR (Brazil), CERTFOR (Chile) and PEFC Uruguay - identified many areas of common interest where they can work together to increase the profile of PEFC in the region.
Promoting PEFC in South America
With the technical and financial support of PEFC Spain, we supported the South America Promotions Initiative from 2016 to 2017, as our South American members began to further profile and promote PEFC within the marketplace.
With each member investing their own time and funds in the development of comprehensive marketing plans, we provided additional support for the organization of seminars and workshops, alongside the development of a range of materials.
Some of the key events held in 2016 included ‘Building Shared Value: Sustainability and Competitiveness, PEFC in Latin America’ in Argentina in July, ‘Sustainability and Traceability of Non-timber Products’ in Uruguay in June, and the ‘Seminar - Fair of Forest Sustainability’ in Chile in October.
In 2017, our members held a regional meeting in Argentina to share experiences, establish a framework to strengthen certification in the region, enhance their technical skills and plan marketing and communication activities. In the same year, they ran a Chain of Custody training course in Argentina with local certification bodies and internal auditors of both current and potential PEFC-certified companies.
Through these and other events, our members engaged with a wide range of important stakeholders: from forest owners, certified companies and certification bodies, to representatives of the retail sector and advertising agencies, and public and academic institutions.
By the end of the first two years, the Initiative had already achieved several significant outcomes. Working together helped the South American members to identify common approaches, interests and ways forward. Cooperation has also improved, along with the pooling of important information.
This collaborative work carried out at a continental scale has contributed to an increased interest in PEFC certification for sustainable forest management and Chain of Custody among authorities, companies and stakeholders. This has also led to the improved visibility of the PEFC brand within the regional markets.
While we no longer financially support the Initiative, it is not finished. Our members still cooperate on a wide range of activities and issues, working on a regional level to build the presence of PEFC in the South American market.
In September 2018, CERTFOR held its second PEFC Sustainability Fair, bringing together representatives from the printing and packaging sector, government, research and international brands. In the days following the fair, all four members met for their now annual regional meeting, to discuss and plan their joint marketing activities.