Many organisations exist nationally and internationally to support sustainable forest management. Very often it is about networking and putting the right buyers in touch with the right suppliers. WWF's GFTN, operates in over 35 countries and has been very pro-active in growing a network of responsible traders:
WWF's GFTN operates producer and buyer groups and is WWF's initiative to eliminate illegal logging and transform the global marketplace into a force for saving the world's valuable and threatened forests. By facilitating trade links between companies committed to achieving and supporting responsible forestry, the GFTN creates market conditions that help conserve the world’s forests while providing economic and social benefits for the businesses and people that depend on them. Contact Julia Young, GFTN Manager UK
There are a number of certification bodies, schemes and programmes operating world-wide that support timber suppliers and traders with sustainable forest management operations and/or responsible purchasing practices. Very often forest certification takes time; in tropical countries on average 2-5 years is normal, due to the complexity of the forest ecosystems and the supply chains. To support a phased approach to certification a few of these offer a step-wise programme to certification. These third party schemes or programmes may also provide documentary verification of claims such as proof of legality. The majority of the schemes at present are more focused and active in tropical countries and as such are mainly set up to support FSC certification. However, there is no reason in principle why legality verification schemes could not be used as a step-wise programme towards full PEFC certification, at some stage in the future. Legality verification may also be offered as a stand alone service. Where a scheme has a verified step-wise scheme, generally, there are distinct compliance levels for legality verification and certification:
A number of organisations operate step-wise certification schemes or programmes which may or may not include additional legality verification, the main ones are:
TFT has been operating as Tropical Forest Trust in the tropics for over 10 years now, working directly with suppliers offering a support programme with expertise in forest management and responsible sourcing to achieve FSC certification. TFT also administers and runs the Timber Trade Action Plan on behalf of a number of European Timber Trade Federations. Both TFT and TTAP use the same expertise and approach, the key difference is that the
The Rainforest Alliance operates world-wide and, in addition to being an FSC accredited certification body under the Smartwood brand, Rainforest Alliance operates SmartStep programme, a phased approach to FSC forest certification. In connection to the Smart:Step Programme, RA will offer Verified Legal Origin, Verified Legal Compliance, FSC Controlled Wood and/or full FSC compliance. Contact Christian Sloth, Verification Services Manager.
The international company SGS is accredited as a certification body by international certification programmes such as FSC and PEFC. Additionally, SGS has developed a series of verification services to support a range of customers from individual companies to country governments, with voluntary company-level or mandatory country-wide programmes, or a combination. The voluntary company-level approach is embodied in the SGS TLTV (Timber Legality & Traceability Verification) Service, which covers Verified Origin and Verified Legal Compliance as steps toward full certification. Contact SGS Forestry Services.
SCS is accredited world-wide to provide FSC Forest Management certification and Chain of Custody certification under both FSC and PEFC systems. Additionally SCS provides a wide array of product certifications for companies in the green building market. SCS has recently added legality verification to their portfolio under their Legal Harvest (TM) Program and can offer Legal Harvest Verification, FSC Controlled Wood and full FSC compliance assessments separately or as part of a Stepwise Approach. For more information please contact SCS Senior Vice President, Dr. Robert Hrubes.