AHEC and ASMINDO partner up for sustainability conference in Indonesia

NHLA chief inspector demonstrates the approach to grading American hardwood species

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and the Indonesian Furniture and Craft Association (ASMINDO) hosted a conference that brought 80 top timber industry leaders and decisionmakers to discuss sustainability and timber regulation in the region.

Held on 29 Apr 2024 at the VIVERE Hotel in Tangerang, Indonesia, the conference was about understanding EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and American hardwoods, divided into three key sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of the industry.

With a 100% attendance rate, the conference began with an informative session on American hardwoods and the application of lumber grading system by National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) chief inspector Dana Spessert.

The second session, led by AHEC environmental policy director Rupert Oliver, delved into the EUDR and its implications for the US hardwood industry and furniture exports. For Indonesian and ASEAN countries exporting products to the EU market, this session provided an understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by the EUDR.

Oliver presents implications of EUDR for Indonesia

The event culminated in a fireside chat featuring Spessert, Oliver, and Achmad Edi Nugroho, a regional forest governance expert at the European Forest Institute (EFI). The discussion highlighted the role of sustainable materials in shaping the industry’s future and emphasised collaboration and transparency in meeting the EUDR requirements.

Panel discussion about the role of timber in a sustainable future

While some attendees expressed concerns about the transition from EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) to EUDR and the lack of consultation by the European Commission, the overall mood remained optimistic. ASMINDO members showed interest in exploring American hardwoods as a sustainable option for their products.

According to ASMINDO chairman Dedy, Indonesia’s goal to capture 1% of the world furniture market — with wooden furniture dominating 68% of the country’s total exports and the US being a key market — accounting for 55% of these exports.

AHEC’s role as an authority on sustainability and timber regulation was highlighted, with the organisation pledging to strengthen its ties with Indonesia through design collaborations, trade shows, and educational seminars.

The conference served as a reminder of the timber industry’s shared responsibility in creating a sustainable future. By fostering partnerships and promoting the use of sustainably sourced materials like American hardwoods, the industry needs to tackle the challenges posed by the EUDR and other regulatory frameworks.  

Images: AHEC