Gains from FSC certification highlighted

1st September 2015


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IEMA

Companies with Forest Stewardship Council certification can earn significantly more from their wood than those without, a study by WWF has found.

The research, covering 11 companies in seven countries, explored the economic case for forest operators to adopt FSC certification and for financiers to prefer it. Companies with certification earned an extra $1.80 for every cubic metre of roundwood or equivalent, over and above costs associated with certification, it found.

The financial benefit was mainly through price premiums on FSC-certified wood and increased efficiency, WWF said. Results varied significantly by company size and geography, with small and medium-sized enterprises, and those in tropical regions showing financial gains. Large producers and those in temperate regions experienced small losses. It took companies six years on average to break even on investing in certification, the research revealed.

“This study shows that, while the investment costs of entering into an FSC certification process can be considerable, for tropical forest operators and small or medium enterprises the investment can be good for the bottom line,” said Rod Taylor, director of WWF’s global forests programme. The methodology used by WWF can be applied by other companies to calculate what they could gain from certification, he added.

Meanwhile, the UN environment programme (UNEP) has unveiled a new lending and investment policy tool for financial institutions aimed at reducing the deforestation risk caused by unsustainable production, trade, processing and retail of commodities such as soy, palm oil and beef. The development of the tool follows research by UNEP which found that the majority of financial institutions did not have policies that explicitly require clients to comply with applicable local, national and international laws and regulations related to forest conservation.

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