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WWF welcomes launch of Forest Stewardship Council in China


07 Apr 2006, Beijing, China – The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent, non-government organization aimed at promoting responsible forest management, has launched an initiative in China that marks the first formal steps toward the development of a forest certification scheme within the country.

China is a major player in the global forest products market, both as a producer and consumer. Its market for industrial timber, pulp, and paper is the second largest in the world, outranked only by the United States. It has relatively limited forest resources and a great potential for increases in consumption of wood and paper products.

Given China’s massive role in the world’s timber market, the FSC initiative in China is a critical strategy for mitigating the destructive environmental impacts of poor forest management on a worldwide scale. In addition, China is increasingly exporting wood in value-added products so a growing share of its wood imports represents the ecological footprint of end-consumers in other countries.

“We are very pleased to see that the FSC China National Initiative has launched as a result of full cooperation among multi-stakeholders and that an independent, fair and open consultation process will lead to an FSC-recognized China Forest Certification Standard in the near future,” said Dermot O’Gorman, WWF China’s country representative.

In 2003, WWF China and the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) paved the way for the FSC China initiative by co-initiating the FSC China working group. The working group consisted of 107 representatives from a broad spectrum of society, including government, academia, forest management units, timber processing enterprises, social groups and other NGOs.

“The working group’s members represent a truly multi-stakeholder effort,” added O’Gorman. “Their objectives are to enhance the development of forest certification in China, create synergies between the regional forest certification systems and the international system, and encourage public involvement in the process of forest certification through seminars, trainings and publications.”

Recently, the group elected an 18-person FSC China Working Group Council that will lead to the development of China’s certification standards and recognized internationally by FSC.

Founded in 1993, FSC’s mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Introduced as a tool to motivate enterprises to produce and market products from sustainably managed forest, forest certification can not only establish standards for forest practices and management, but also educate both producers and consumers and enhance their participation in environmental protection.

WWF has worked with the Heilongjiang provincial government to foster responsible forestry through promoting forest certification. Besides capacity building and field research, WWF has provided technical and financial support to the Youhao Forestry Bureau in the province. In January 2005, the Bureau, with a total forest area of 24,000ha, became China’s first state-owned forest to be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme.

“By stepping up its efforts in China, the FSC stands to play an important role in improving how forests are managed not only in China, but across the globe,” said O’Gorman.


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