Indonesia Moves to Certify All Wood as Sustainably Derived?

This post first appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard.


Interesting developments in Indonesia on the deforestation front!  An editorial in the Jakarta Post discusses a recent announcement from the Indonesian Forestry Ministry to require forest certification.  As the editorial outlines this:

bold move to require forestry companies to have their wood stocks audited throughout the supply chain to ensure the wood is derived from sustainably managed forests could go a long way in reducing illegal logging in the country.

Addressing illegal logging must be one of the central elements in the efforts to address global warming pollution from deforestation.  And, consumer demand is definitely a factor that needs to be a part of the solution on illegal logging (as I discussed in Illegal (B)Logging).  As the editorial highlights:

It is international market forces (consumers and traders) united into a global green consumer campaign that have forced wood-based companies to have their wood certified as green by independent certifying companies.

There are various “tools” under discussion to address illegal logging and its related exports.  Certification systems as announced by the Indonesian government are one such solution to illegal logging and provide consumers in the importing countries with the information to only buy sustainably sourced wood.  This new Indonesian program will reportedly be third-party certified, which will add more credibility to the system which has had poor past performance in addressing illegal logging.

Another important tool is import restrictions on illegally sourced wood and wood products.  Towards this end, the US has passed the first law that will ban the import of illegally sourced wood and wood products, as I’ve discussed in other posts.  And, there is talk within Europe to follow suit (as I discussed here).

Does this trend in the US and EU (two major direct and indirect consumers of global wood products) have any impact on the announced development in Indonesia?  It is hard think that it isn’t in the back of the mind of the Indonesian government as it moves towards certification.  Especially since an estimated 36% of Indonesia’s export of wood goes directly to the EU and US.  And, another 20% of Indonesia’s export of wood goes to China directly and some portion of this ends up in finished products that go to the EU and US.

Does this bode well for further progress on addressing deforestation in Indonesia?  Let’s hope so since in related news an agreement was reached to protect forests and other ecosystems on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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