PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue aims for smarter certification

This year’s PEFC Week in Helsinki brought members together to work on developing a new global strategy for PEFC to promote more sustainable forestry and tree management, and on increasing the value of the wood products supply chain to society as a whole.

“We need a paradigm shift in how society perceives the whole forest/tree value chain,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, as he opened the 22nd PEFC General Assembly. “Society is at a crossroads and the strategic direction we choose will provide the opportunity for us to demonstrate the real value of sustainable forests and their contribution to society in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

He added that industry must demonstrate how forests are part of the solution to tackle climate change and a growing urban global population.

“For too long, society has perceived forestry as part of the problem rather than the solution. By working interdependently, the PEFC can and will change society’s perception and place forests at the heart of the solutions to these challenges,” Mr Gunneberg said.

The annual meeting typically sees PEFC members gathering for meetings and workshops on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the General Assembly, held on Wednesday. The last two days of the Week is open to stakeholders registered for the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue. This year’s event received 250 participants from 57 countries worldwide including delegations from Asia.

This year, under the Dialogue’s theme, ‘Making Certification SMART’, delegates explored the potential of technology innovation within certification: From remote sensing and mobile apps through to block-chain and crypto currencies. Delegates discussed how to approach technology in a meaningful way that could increase the value of PEFC to forest owners as well as to supply chain actors.

“The incorporation of smart technology could ensure that the full extent of the sustainable development goals can be better delivered and better communicated than in the past,” Mr Gunneberg stressed.

In his concluding remarks, he added, “By engaging collaboratively, we can leverage the impact of the work we do, and achieve so much more.”