Bosnia and Herzegovina acquires FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard

07 November 2019 09:51

On 22 October 2019 the National Forest Stewardship Standard for Bosnia and Herzegovina FSC-STD-BiH-01-2019 was published and will become effective on 22 March 2020.

From the very beginning, the Independent Trade Union of Forestry, Wood Processing and Paper of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SSSPDPBIH) was a member of the national working group for the development of the National FSC Standard, starting from the establishing of the process in October 2015, in Kupres. The union’s clear and single objective was to ensure that rights of workers and the role of trade union will be included and ensured in line with ILO Core Labour Standards in the forest sector and its supply chain.

It is of utmost importance to continue with the work of the FSC Standard Working Group in order to begin the process of incorporating ILO indicators into the national standard, which we expect to happen very soon. The standard should be a good foundation to bring more value not only to the forest, but to the workers, as well. Together with BWI, we will continue with our efforts to ensure that FSC certified companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and globally respect ILO core labour standards,” stated Lejla Catic, president of the SSSPDPBIH and member of the FSC National Standard Working Group.

In the coming period, it will be important to translate the Standards into the local language and educate union shop stewards on how the standard can be used to improve the situation regarding health and safety as well as the financial and material situation of workers in forest companies and their sub-contractors.

The FSC National Standard Working Group usually has ten members, but in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina it consisted of twenty-three members due to the FSC’s request to include representatives of the economic, social and science sectors of the membership due to the administrative structure of the country. The cooperation with the Faculty of Forestry of Sarajevo and the SSSPDPBIH was very important.

The process of developing the National FSC Standard for Bosnia and Herzegovina was facilitated by World Wildlife Fund and financed by IKEA and the Faculty of Forestry, University of Sarajevo, was the institution that implemented the project.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first, and currently the only, country in the region to have acquired the FSC standard.

“Certification of forest resources management in BiH will improve the environmental, social and economic performance of forest management, as well as the competitive advantages of domestic forestry and timber industries. This is especially true of export-oriented businesses in BiH, which are increasingly subject to stringent requirements for the origin of timber to be attractive to EU markets,” explained Mersudin Avdibegović, Ph.D. Faculty of Forestry of Sarajevo.

Countries where WWF and IKEA are working together with forests a aside from Bosnia-Herzegovina are Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.

There are more then 250 FSC (SFM and CoC) certified companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including several IKEA suppliers (RAMEX, Kladanj, M&S Wood, Fojnica, Standard, Prnjavor) employing around 1,500 workers in the furniture sector.