A recent UN report – 2008-2009 UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review – says there’s potential for significant demand for certified products due to increased interest in avoiding illegal sources, new forest values such as carbon sequestration, and green building initiatives.
It also says that giving “exclusive recognition to particular forest-certification brands may help drive demand for these brands at the expense of wider appreciation of the environmental merits of wood.”
At SFI Inc., we absolutely agree. I have said all along that the world needs more forests certified to reliable and trusted programs like SFI, and the best way to do this is to make sure procurement policies accept them all.
It is distressing to keep reporting that just 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified – even more distressing when the UN report suggests the total might be closer to eight percent.
Let’s hope the objective information in this report – prepared by the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Food and Agriculture Organization – will help us move from rhetoric to reality when we talk about the value of third-party forest certification.
There is one really bright spot in the review, especially for the SFI program, and that’s the rapid growth of chain-of-custody certification. While forest certification has slowed, chain of custody is growing rapidly in many regions – and the UN report reports the SFI program led the pack. Here’s what it says about chain-of-custody certificates: “In terms of numbers, the most significant of these is the SFI Program in North America. The numbers of its certificates issued increased dramatically during the course of 2008 from 100 certificates covering 400 locations to almost 400 certificates covering 1,000 locations.”