“We are entering a new age for timber, a new industrial revolution for timber,” said Peter Latham, Chairman of PEFC International, speaking at the first Malaysian Timber Conference.
“This isn’t just a climate-positive story of using a renewable crop, a crop that can still lock in the carbon when at the end of its use; but also one in which certification can demonstrate how we look after our forests, how we cooperate with indigenous people, how we protect worker’s rights, and so much more.”
Mr Latham addressed the global supply and demand for forest certification and certified timber, its associated challenges and trends, and the outlook and opportunities for forest certification, during his speech on ‘Certification: opening or closing doors to global markets for tropical hardwood’.
“In terms of global fibre consumption, tropical hardwood is a small part, but it is at the top of the pyramid, it is the prestige product,” Mr Latham explained.
“Demonstrating that it is legal and sustainable is a necessity, a necessity that ensures that the product that we value and love is given a true value in the marketplace.”
The first Malaysian Timber Conference, organised by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), was held on 18 October 2018 at the Le Meridien Hotel in KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Themed “Towards a Better Tomorrow” the conference was opened by the Minister of Primary Industries in Malaysia, YB Teresa Kok, who emphasised the importance of sustainability in enabling the Malaysian timber industry to be well established in the global marketplace, adding that “sustainability and certification will determine long-term success” for the timber sector.
In his welcoming remarks, the Chairman of MTC, Dato’ Low Kian Chuan, drew attention to Malaysia’s good forestry practices, with sustainable forest management practices incorporated in the national system. He highlighted that Malaysia is committed to maintaining over 50 per cent of forest cover and preserving forests as natural heritage.
The need for certification to prove that products are from sustainable sources was a key point of the panel discussion on forest protection; with Mr Latham adding that the “best way to protect our forest is to use our forest in a sustainable manner”.
About the Malaysian Timber Certification Council
Established in 1998, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) is an independent organisation tasked to develop and operate the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS). As a voluntary national system, the MTCS provides for the independent assessment of forest management practices and audit of timber product manufacturers or exporters to ascertain that the timber products manufactured or exported are sourced from sustainably managed forests. This is to ensure the sustainable management of Malaysia’s natural forest and forest plantations, as well as to meet the demand for certified timber products.
The MTCS has been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the largest forest certification programme, representing more than 300 million hectares of certified forests worldwide. The MTCS is also the first tropical timber certification system in the Asia Pacific region to be endorsed by the PEFC.
About the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to the PEFC eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests.
As an umbrella organisation, PEFC works by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.
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