Forest Stewardship Council

Contribution Forest Stewardship Council to outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference

In particular on “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”

Oaxaca/Mexico, Bonn/Germany, 27 September, 2011


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) underlines key messages from UNEP in its Green Economy report of 20111: “Forests are a foundation of the green economy, sustaining a wide range of sectors and liveli-hoods”.

“Short-term liquidation of forest assets for limited private gains threatens this foundation, and needs to be halted”.

FSC agrees with UNEP in setting as objectives of a green economy: “mproved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarci-ties”.This clarifies that economic activities need to respect ecological constraints but have clear social objectives.

FSC works in conjunction with and complements initiatives that aim to reduce deforestation and forest degradation globally and increase the total forest cover, also as part of climate miti-gation and adaptation policies.

The urgency for responsible forest management is compelled by increased demand for forest products to sustain fundamental needs such as providing energy source, construction mate-rial, and other purposes.

UNEP describes certification of sustainable forest management, such as FSC, as a promising development, a relevant contribution to shift the trends. However, it needs to be applied at a much greater scope, in particular in the tropical and sub-tropical areas. It concludes that “There are reasons for optimism, but greening the forest sector requires a sustained effort. Various standards and certification schemes have provided a sound basis for practising sustainable forest management, but their widespread uptake requires a strong mandate and consistent policies and markets.

As Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the majority of UN governments have, in Nagoya last year, committed themselves to the “Aichi Biodiversity Targets” for 2020. These include the aim to halve the (annual) rates of losses of forests, “and where feasible brought close to zero”, and to significantly reduce degradation and fragmentation. Sustainably managed forests will also contribute to “ensuring conservation of biodiversity”, as well as the restoration of 15% of currently degraded ecosystems. The Parties have committed themselves to develop or update, by 2015, national biodiversity strategies and action plans to help implementing the Aichi targets.

FSC calls for inclusion of a “Certification Support Pledge” in the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference, with the following text:

Governments recognise that forests are a foundation of the green economy, sustaining a wide range of sectors and livelihoods; that forests also form an essential part of the worldfs ecosystems and play a crucial role in mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change. They are alarmed about the ongoing deforestation and forest degradation in many parts of the world. They are aware of the increased demand for forest products and the opportunities and threats this will create. Responsible forest management therefore is essential to protect environment, biodiversity and ecosystem services, ensure the respect of social and human rights, guarantee proper wages and prosperity and contribute appropriately to the domestic economies. Forest certification is complementary to nature conservation and provides a promising environmental, social and economic alternative to practices that result in destructive forest exploitation and deforestation. Therefore, all governments taking part in the Rio+20 Conference, pledge concrete and systematic support and promotion of transparent, effective, balanced multi stakeholder governed forest and chain-of-custody certification systems, in all parts of the world, with special attention to tropical and sub-tropical rainforests. They do this in line with their individual responsibilities and possibilities, towards their domestic forests, as actors on the public procurement markets, as guardians of internal markets, as decisionmakers on consumer information criteria, and as initiators and supporters of development and training assistance at home and/or abroad. They recognise that forest certification can strengthen local economies, ensure the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and local communities and avoid the destruction of forests, their ecosystem services and their biodiversity, and, drive continuous improvements, provided it is based on robust principles, applied through transparent and balanced participatory, multi-stakeholder governed, processes, and includes independent, on-the-ground, monitoring, re-porting and verification. Governments engaged in Rio+20 commit to include support for credible forest certification in their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as well as in other plans focused on limit-ing or reducing the ecological footprint of their societies, including integrated product pro-curement policies.

They will furthermore support the success of such forest certification systems by aligning pub-lic procurement practices at all levels with certified forest products and services, as well as promote certified products with their citizens.

Those governments engaged in development cooperation with other countries, commit to in-clude forest certification in their programmes, supporting the development of forest dependent local economies, social rights, and environmentally sound forest management.

Government activities to implement this pledge could include:

On the ground: develop and enforce appropriate policies and regulations for responsible for-est management and guarantee efficient and effective controls; create favourable conditions for robust and balanced multi-stakeholder based forest certification schemes such as FSC (examples existing in South Africa, Brazil, Guatemala), including tax incentives for certificate holders (such as in Peru).

On the ground: support responsible forest management practice through education and training; support development of curricula to help people understanding the values of healthy forests and green economy; and . where appropriate – for training to understand processes of voluntary certification based on participatory processes. On the ground: where forests are public, seek FSC certification of these forests and demon-strate responsible management including stakeholder engagement.

On the ground: actively support and encourage FSC oriented multi-stakeholder decision making processes to achieve FSC Forest Management certification of private and community forests.

On the ground in other countries: promote and support assistance to forest management certification processes by social development organisations, in particular in the tropical and subtropical countries.

On the markets: inform and mobilise consumers to differentiate between products based on social and environmental impact, and to understand that forest products from questionable origin contribute to irresponsible forest management practises such as overharvesting, degra-dation, illegal activities, and violation of worker and human rights. Give confidence by identify-ing credible certification schemes that deserve consumer preference in public procurement policies.

On the markets: practice green public procurement, in a credible manner, and support a large, reliable market for certified products, including by setting progressive targets. On the FSC website we will present progressively examples of supporting activities govern-ments have already been engaged in, in particular in/for tropical and semi-tropical forests ( What is FSC:

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non]governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the worldfs forests. FSC is a unique forum where stakeholders from around the world meet and through strong multi-stakeholder processes define essential social and environmental criteria for forest manage-ment. These fundamental principles are realized in forests worldwide through FSC certifica-tion. Through programs, services and solutions that support FSC certification, the Forest Stewardship Council empowers organizations, businesses and communities to support forest management that meets the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

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