Building capacity within the Thai forestry community
National system development
The production of rubber and rubber wood is a vital income source for rural communities in Thailand, particularly among the country’s smallholders. However, with no forest certification system in Thailand adapted to their specific needs, certification of rubber wood has remained low.
In fact, the levels of forest certification throughout Thailand have continued to remain low, indicating a clear need for new approaches to make certification accessible and affordable for forest owners.
In response, stakeholders in the country developed the Thai national forest certification system, in line with PEFC international requirements. By developing a national system that can be submitted to PEFC for endorsement, stakeholders can ensure the certification system better responds to their specific national context.
The National Governing Body – the organization responsible for running the national system – became the PEFC national member in November 2016 and the national system achieved PEFC endorsement in May 2019.
Implementing the national system
In order to enable the efficient development and implementation of the national system, the 2016 PEFC Collaboration Fund supported a project by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to prepare the country as it moved towards PEFC endorsement.
Ensuring that the key stakeholders are aware, trained and enthusiastic is key to the efficient running of a national forest certification system. This project therefore worked with several key actors, such as the Thai Havea Wood Association, the Rubber Authority of Thailand, private sector and certification bodies, to prepare them for their responsibilities once the national system has achieved endorsement.
The project also looked at increasing the market demand for certification within Thailand, with a particular focus on raising awareness of PEFC Chain of Custody certification and controlled sources. This included training sessions for interested companies, especially SMEs and smallholders, to explain how they can achieve certification.
Looking further ahead, the project will aim at enabling forest owners in sectors such as rubber, teak and eucalyptus gain certification.