PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue 2016: Making CoC certification work for businesses

Mr Michael Hermens, Managing Director of APP Timber, shares about his CoC certification journey at the

PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue in Bali on Nov 17.

 

Management commitment and consumer demand: These are the two driving forces behind certification adoption in Asia.

At the breakout session on Chain of Custody Certification during the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue in Bali, Michael Hermens, managing director of APP Timber, shared that his company only trades timber that is legal and certified.

The Kuala Lumpur-based timber importer and distributor was first PEFC-certified in 2012 and later on PEFC Chain of Custody certified in 2016. The decision to adoption certification is both economic and environmental. Firstly it increases his market share in the global timber and wood products trade; at the same time it is also a means to preserve forests for current and future generations.

Mr Hermens remarked that about 10% of lumber he sold in the past year is FSC-certified. Less than 1% is PEFC-certified. However, PEFC-certified wood products make up 35% of all his products sold.  

Unfortunately, few manufacturers in Southeast Asia understand PEFC certification. The recent FLEGT-license in Indonesia is also likely to reduce the demand for PEFC-certified products.

“PEFC is also not very strong in promoting their advantages and message to manufacturers in Southeast Asia,” Mr Hermens said.

In response, PEFC Chairman Peter Latham acknowledged that while PEFC had been very good at increasing the number of national forest certification schemes, more needs to be done about increasing the number of CoC certification.

The audience also heard from Mr Benediktus Yudi Setiawan from Gramedia Printing. As consumers become more aware of environmental issues, they are demanding certified paper, he said.

“PEFC has a role in engaging consumers about certification, but how can we convince companies to work actively with us to communicate this message to consumers?” asked Thomas Davreux from PEFC Belgium.

To this end, Mr Hermens stressed the importance of knowledge-sharing and training in the region as an essential step to achieve greater awareness. He welcomed the industry to utilise APP Timber’s wood training and distribution center in the new Kendal Industrial Park in Semarang, Indonesia.

Vietnam and Indonesia will, and should be, the key focus for improving know-how in certifiation as both countries are rising quickly as a key wood-processing centres in the region, he said.

 

“We need to grow PEFC Chain of Custody”

–          Ben Gunneberg, CEO and secretary general of PEFC

 

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