On Thursday forest certification organisations from all over the world came together in Geneva for the General Assembly of the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
The rapid global deforestation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The unsustainable practices also threatens forestry workers, indigenous populations and other forest dependent communities.
"What are you willing to do to fight for not only sustainable forests but for sustainable development?" said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the BWI when speaking for the Assembly. He emphasized that the PEFC needs to put larger focus on the rights and working conditions of the 15 million workers worldwide who depend on the forest for their survival.
Rightly managed, forestry production can help curb global while at the same time creating more sustainable and decent jobs for workers. The BWI recognise that programs such as PEFC and FSC has a key role to play both to make forestry companies take responsibility.
"Poverty and inequality stand first in line as prime drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. This is true in rural areas of OECD countries as it is in the poorest high forest cover countries in the world. The actions and consequences of how forest dependent populations and forests suffer may differ but the drivers are universal. Your next round of standards must recognize this and put in place frameworks to help change this," said Ambet Yuson.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third party certification. The BWI has been a partner of the PEFC since the organization was first founded in 1999.
"We are ready to expand our partnership if you are, the choice is yours," he concluded.