From the forest to the market: promoting forest certification in Korea
The development of a national forest certification system in the Republic of Korea took place over a number of years. In addition to meeting the international and social demands for forest certification, the development of a national system was vital for realizing the government’s policy for domestic sustainable forest management.
In 2016, the Korea Forestry Promotion Institute (KoFPI) became the country’s national PEFC member - the organization responsible for running the national system. This was followed two years later with the PEFC endorsement of the Korea Forest Certification System (KFCS) in June 2018.
While recent years saw the comprehensive development of a national system, there are still many challenges to overcome in order to efficiently introduce and disseminate the system within the country.
One of the key challenges is the low awareness of forest certification among domestic companies and the general public, while the lack of incentives has left little recognition for the need of certification.
PEFC in the Korean market
In response, the 2016 PEFC Collaboration Fund is supporting KoFPI as they carry out a wide-ranging awareness raising campaign to increase the recognition and demand of the Korea Forest Certification System throughout the country.
The promotion of certified products with the PEFC label will feature throughout the project, not only raising the profile of KFCS/PEFC within the general public, but also demonstrating the benefits of certification to the industry.
Local, certified products will be promoted at domestic and international events, such as the 2018 Winter Olympics, international film festivals and cultural sporting events, alongside exhibitions for national green products.
Certain specific products have been further identified which, if produced with domestic, PEFC-certified forest-based materials, will have a significant impact on the promotion of KFCS/PEFC. These products include a wooden card (which can be used as a credit card, name tag, etc.), paper cups used at coffee franchises and sustainability reports by large companies and public institutions.
KoFPI will also work with the country’s leading companies and public agencies to promote the purchase of domestically certified forest products. This will contribute to an acceleration in the use of certified forest products within the country, providing an incentive for forest owners and stakeholders within the supply chain of get themselves certified.
At the same time, the project will help lay the technical foundations for the introduction of the KFCS. Vital to this will be the continuous communication between KoFPI and other important actors within the forest certification system, such as certification bodies, accreditation bodies and domestic companies.