The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) opened its doors in Malaysia as part of a strategic decision to tackle tropical deforestation.
Under the leadership of Interim Executive Director Andrew Ng, the FSC Malaysia office will engage leaders in the social, environmental and business communities about responsible forest management.
“Malaysia is a crucial country for tropical forestry. If countries like those in the European Union want a continued, sustainable supply of tropical timber decades from now, having FSC’s presence on the ground sets a strong precedent,” said Ng.
At an event attended by policy and business leaders, FSC’s Malaysian debut began with a firm commitment from the organization to work with government, civil society and private enterprises to tackle the increasing amount of deforestation in Malaysia, to ensure the country’s place in the global legal timber trade market is maintained, and that Malaysian forests continue to renew to meet the demand for timber for generations to come.
“The main challenges we’ll encounter when introducing the FSC system will be around building awareness of and value for high conservation value species, indigenous peoples’ and forest workers’ rights and good forest governance. The latter will be most resource-intensive because it will require working closely with local government to bring about meaningful change. Tropical forests are complex and sensitive ecosystems, but this office will serve as a lighthouse for the region and encourage neighboring countries, and those across the Asia–Pacific region, to see the value of long-term sustainable in-vestment over short-term unsustainable gain. We have an ambitious outlook for the future, and we’re willing to work hard to achieve it,” Ng explained.
Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC International, said the organization was committed to tackling the tropical forest challenge in countries like Malaysia to benefit forests in the country and help meet growing demand for forest products and materials globally.
In the coming months, FSC Malaysia will focus on getting the office off the ground. It will then be fully operational to serve existing Malaysian certificate holders, identify potential new certificate holders, monitor market trends, and create a national standard.
“By propagating FSC values at the grassroots level, the new national office provides an immediate link between forest companies, tropical timber buyers, supply-chain actors, governments, stakeholders and the general public of Malaysia. These different stakeholders can then work strongly together to change what sometimes appears to be a culture of mindless deforestation, and replace it with one that values responsible forest management,” commented Ng.
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About The Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent non-governmental organization that promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. FSC was created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from well-managed forests. FSC sets standards by which forests are certified, offering credible verification to people who are buying wood and wood products. Currently more than 175 million hectares and 25,000 companies are certified to FSC standards world-wide. For more information visit www.fsc.org.