United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development

Report


                                 REPORT OF
              INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS WORKING GROUP MEETING ON
         TRADE, LABELLING OF FOREST PRODUCTS AND CERTIFICATION OF
                       SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT

                    Joint German-Indonesian Initiative
                          12-16 August 1996, Bonn


I.    PREAMBLE

In support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) of the United
Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), an International Experts'
Working Group Meeting on "Trade, Labelling of Forest Products and
Certification of Sustainable Forest Management" was organized in Bonn, Germany
12-16 August 1996 as a joint initiative of the Governments of the Federal
Republic of Germany and the Republic of Indonesia.

At its third session, CSD requested IPF, under its Programme Element of
Category IV Trade and Environment Relating to Forest Goods and Services, to

"Examine relevant factors affecting trade in forest products and other forest-
trade issues in an integrated and holistic approach that promotes a supportive
relationship between trade and environment. In this connection, identify
opportunities and recommend measures for improving market access for forest
products on a non-discriminatory basis, examine the issue of voluntary
certification and labelling of forest products to contribute to a better
understanding of the role of voluntary certification with regard to the
sustainable management of forests including the impact of certification on
developing countries."

The Meeting sought to build on the results of the International Conference on
Certification and Labelling of Products from Sustainably Managed Forests held
in Brisbane, Australia 26-31 May 1996.

The sponsoring governments organized a preparatory meeting in Jakarta 25-26
January 1996 where representatives of eight countries and international non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) defined the scope of work for the Experts■
Meeting.

The participants expressed their gratitude to the Government of Germany and
the German people for their warm and generous hospitality.


Definitions
Voluntary certification, as defined in this meeting, entails certification of
FMUs against a standard and, in some cases certification of chain-of-custody.
It was understood that forest products from certified forests may, or may not,
be labelled.

II.   OBJECTIVES

The purpose of the Experts Working Group Meeting was to contribute to the
IPF■s work on examining further the potential role of labelling of forest
products and certification of forest management as a tool to promote trade in
timber coming from sustainably managed forests and thereby contributing to
sustainable forest management. Four main issues had been identified as
priorities for the consideration of the meeting:

(i) Market aspects focusing on the impact of certification of timber from
sustainable forest management (SFM), on demand for timber products, and to
what extent markets exist for labelled timber.

(ii) Trade aspects with emphasis on certification and labelling as instruments
within the framework of free trade and necessary measures to ensure that they
do not create non-tariff trade barriers.

(iii) Forestry aspects studying the impacts of certification on SFM and the
existence of globally accepted criteria and indicators for certification.

(iv) Implementation aspects: learning from experience of existing schemes and
identifying their commonalities.

III.  ORGANIZATION OF WORK

The Meeting in Bonn was attended by 70 participants in their personal capacity
as experts coming from 37 countries, international organizations and NGOs. The
outcome of the Meeting is this report of the participants.

The Meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Hagen Frost and Dr. Toga Silitonga.

In the opening session statements were made by the two Co-Chairs and Dr.
Jagmohan Maini, Coordinator of the IPF Secretariat. The work of the Meeting
was principally carried out in four working groups:

1. Impact of labelling of timber from SFM on demand 
Co-Chairs: Dr. Gunther Merz and Dr. Toga Silitonga, Rapporteur: Markku Simula

2. Certification/labelling within the framework of free trade
Co-Chairs: Mr. Gerhard Schmok and Dr. I.M.G. Tantra, 
Rapporteur: Geoffrey Pleydell

3. Impacts of certification on SFM
    Co-Chairs: Prof. Jochen Heuveldop and Prof. Achmad Sumitro,
    Rapporteur: Erik Lammerts van Bueren

4. Lessons learned from existing schemes
    Co-Chairs: Dr. Ulrich Hoenisch and Dr. Benni H. Sormin, 
    Rapporteur: Dr. Jrgen Blaser

Each working group sought to identify and discuss the key issues and to draw
conclusions leading to Options for Action. A considerable amount of time was
allocated for comprehensive discussion to allow all participants to express
their views. Groups 1 and 2 worked in parallel as did groups 3 and 4. The
findings and options for action were discussed in plenary sessions.  

The list of the papers presented in the Working Groups is given in Annex.


IV.   OPTIONS FOR ACTION

The following represents the agreed consensus of participants attending the
conference.

1.    Recognising that there is limited experience of certification as one of
the possible tools which can potentially contribute to sustainable forest
management and improved market access, IPF may wish to consider that there is
nonetheless evidence to support its further examination.

2.   At the international level, IPF may wish to consider that arrangements
should be made for a continuous exchange of information and experience on
certification and labelling in appropriate fora to ensure transparency and to
facilitate further development of this instrument.

3.    IPF may wish to stimulate the policy dialogue by focusing on the
international, regional and national levels with respect to the following:


international accreditation body(ies);

mutual recognition, harmonisation and/or co-ordination of certification
systems;

mechanisms which are capable of resolving conflicts and conflicts of interest
and so assure credibility of schemes;

the special needs of small forest owners and community-based forest activities
and their integration into forest certification schemes;

increased international development co-operation for:
-  improved forest management to meet certification standards;
-  human resource development in certification issues, including policy
   development, standard-setting, and training of competent local assessors
   for forest management;
-  market promotion of certified forest products.
-  exchange of experiences and information
-  encouragement and support of weaker parties interested in active
   involvement in certification
-  establishing consultation processes that seek to involve all interested
   parties
-  assessment and monitoring, including chain-of-custody tracking

4.  Noting that processes seeking to involve all interested parties in the
development of voluntary certification schemes enhance the credibility and
effectiveness of such schemes, the IPF may wish to consider the role of
governments in relation to market access and the development, implementation,
promotion, harmonisation, and mutual recognition of certification and
labelling
schemes. 


5.  Recognising that voluntary certification may have impacts at and beyond
the forest unit being certified (e.g. international), the IPF may wish to note
the need to monitor practical experience of certification.

6.  Wherever possible, voluntary certification schemes should take account of
C & I frameworks at national, regional, and international levels and the need
to maintain relevance and practicability. At the same time, this may enhance
the credibility of such schemes.

7.  The IPF may wish to consider the outcome of the CIFOR Project and other
similar projects insofar as they may provide tools and guidelines to improve
credibility, effectiveness, comparability and thus facilitate mutual
recognition of C & I frameworks at the FMU level.

8.  Recognising the need to identify the preconditions required so that
certification and labelling schemes can be seen to be in alignment with the
principles of WTO, IPF may wish to bring to the attention of the WTO the
potential positive relationship between sustainable forest management and
voluntary certification and labelling systems. There is also a possible need
to clarify the relationship between WTO provisions and such voluntary systems.

9.  Recognising the need to minimise tension between certification schemes and
open trade and competition, IPF should highlight the principal concepts of the
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which may be of relevance to
proposals for certification and labelling and which include:

I.  non-discriminatory treatment
II.  avoidance of unnecessary barriers to trade
III. transparency
IV.  encouragement to use international standards and to develop harmonisation
V.  encouragement for the acceptance of "equivalent" standards and mutual
recognition

In addition, the Working Group identified the following (non-exhaustive)
criteria:

-  open access and non-discrimination in respect of all types of forest,
   forest owners, managers and operators
-  proportionality:  not more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve the
   environmental objectives
-  credibility
-  non-deceptive
-  cost-effective
-  a participatory process that seeks to involve all interested parties
-  implementable and practical 
-  related to sustainable forest management

10.  Noting that labelling can help to provide the consumer with information
to make buying decisions and to offer the consumer opportunities for choice,
and noting the suggestion that there might be a place for a working group, IPF
may wish to request that an international organisation should set up such a
group to examine, through a process involving all interested parties, the
interrelationship between trade, environment and consumer concern relating to
forest certification and labelling.


11.   Recognising limited knowledge of potential markets for products from
certified forests, IPF may wish to note the need to continue to collect and
analyse data, and to carry out research on:

consumer behaviour, consumption, and end-users; 

impacts on demand, supply, and substitution, both at national and
international levels; 

price premium and price structure;

certification as a policy instrument, including the potential and limitations
of market-based certification in relation to other policy instruments for
achieving SFM;

role of certification as a marketing instrument.


V.    SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS

The following is a summary of discussions which took place in four separate
Working Groups. It is not intended to represent a consensus of the
participants.


1.    Market Aspects

1.1 Demand for Certified Products

Wood and non-wood products, coming from a renewable natural resource, are
inherently environmentally friendly, provided that they are produced in a
sustainable manner. This is not fully recognized in the marketplace and, in
addition, several forces (bans, boycotts, etc.) have emerged to limit
consumption. This represents a constraint on efforts to achieve sustainable
forest management (SFM) contributing to undervaluation of forest resources.
Certification and labelling (C&L) form a market-based instrument which has
been recognized as one of the potentially useful tools among many others to
achieve the goal of sustainable management of the world's forest resources.

For suppliers and traders, C&L offer an instrument to implement their
environmental policies and to promote their commercial interests through
increased market shares and higher prices. For consumers, labelling provides
quality assurance for the environmental characteristics of the production
methods for forest products, allowing consumers to consider this criterion in
their purchasing decisions between different materials and different
suppliers, and offering them a possibility to convert their environmental
awareness into action. C&L thereby offer a two-way channel of communication
between producers and consumers where the feedback information is transmitted
through purchasing decisions.

There are major differences between countries in terms of their market
characteristics and forestry situations, which influence the possible
application of C&L as instruments:

- General environmental preference of consumers is high to medium in many
industrialized countries, while it is low or non-existent in many developing
countries.

- There appears to be less variation in the overall awareness of the
environmental issues related to forestry, at least among countries with
relatively high forest cover per capita where this awareness is generally
significant.

- The main driving forces for certification in exporting countries tend to be
NGOs but governments are also active in some developing countries, being
concerned about their market access in importing countries. In importing
countries, NGOs are quoted as the most important force; in a number of cases,
retailers and industrial users of forest products have recently become the
main driving force.

The markets for forest products are differentiated, ranging from commodity to
niche markets. From the viewpoint of certification, the following segments may
be observed:

(i)  markets which are indifferent to certification
(ii)  markets where certified products enjoy a preference among buyers or
consumers
(iii)  markets where voluntary certification is in fact a precondition for
purchasing decisions

The vast majority of the world's markets for forest products belong to
category (i), while the current demand for certified products is mostly
confined to a small number of European countries, which, however, are major
importers of forest products. There are a significant number of buyers who are
committed to buy only certified wood products, and a number of local
governments require that tropical timber used in their projects be certified.

Wood-based products have ready substitutes and in commodity markets
substitution is easily induced even by small price differentials. There is
evidence in some markets (e.g. Germany) that timber markets, and in particular
tropical timber markets, have decreased dramatically in favour of non-wood
substitutes, but this has not been due to price differentials. Some markets
have been lost for tropical timber because of anti-tropical timber campaigns,
and it is expected that some of these markets could be regained through C&L.

Consumer preferences between different types of timbers and substituting
materials are not adequately known. C&L is a tool which can positively
influence purchasing decisions towards sustainably produced forest products.
This, however, requires that the criteria and indicators used in the
assessment of forest management and the certification scheme are credible.

Demand and supply for certified products are closely interrelated. On both
sides elasticities regulate volumes and prices and therefore a balanced
development would be desirable.

The size of the market for certified products is an important indicator for
demonstrating how effective C&L can be in promoting SFM. Knowledge on the
volume of this demand is limited. Such information is needed for policy
analysis to assess the impacts of certification on demand and supply. These
impacts should be assessed both at national and global levels. There is a need
to carry out further study on market impacts of certification which should
cover all types of timber.


1.2  Price of Certified Products

There are some small market segments where a price premium may be expected for
certified products (e.g. visible high-value uses in environmentally sensitive
markets), while in commodity markets such benefits cannot be foreseen.
Experience on eco-labelling schemes for other products suggests that, even if
a possible price premium is obtained, it tends to remain a short-term
phenomenon. The main market benefit will therefore be measured in terms of
market share.

If demand expands as a result of certification (e.g. regaining of lost
markets), this tends to be reflected in price increases.

The bulk of demand for forest products is derived demand. The processing and
distribution chain can be long where ownership of goods changes several times.
This makes it difficult to transfer a possible price increase in the market
for end products to the stumpage value. Certification is a marketing
instrument which will be exploited by all the members of the distribution
chain.

Substitution possibilities represent limitations for pricing decisions.
However, in the long run, suppliers have to transfer cost increases, including
those due to certification, to their sales prices in the absence of windfall
profits, or if they have no other measures to absorb additional costs, such as
e.g. improved efficiency.

1.3  Costs and Benefits

Certification involves both direct and indirect costs. The former are fixed
costs due to the certification operation, while the latter result from the
structural changes involved in the management system and technology to meet
certification criteria.

Incremental costs of sustainable forest management cannot be considered as due
to certification as all the countries are committed to achieve sustainable
forest management. However, if the criteria and indicators used in
certification exceed those of the normative framework already representing
sustainability, incremental costs would occur. In many instances, the time
distribution of incremental management costs may, however, be influenced by
certification.

Measurement of incremental management costs is complicated by the fact that
sustainability is a dynamic concept and it is understood that the respective
criteria and indicators change over time.

Incremental management costs may often be recovered through cost savings
resulting from reduced damage and waste, improved efficiency, and prevention
of illicit logging. In the long run, a higher accumulated yield would also
often result from SFM. To achieve these benefits, investments are often
needed, including those due to reduced output levels (foregone short-term
benefits) to restore the forest's productive capacity which has been lost due
to overlogging.

The introduction of improvements in forest management is not limited by
knowledge on technical solutions or even economic considerations, and the
fundamental constraints are often political and social in character.

As certification represents a fixed cost, small-scale forest owners are
disadvantaged. They are also less equipped to reap possible benefits from
certification. However, the occurrence of net benefits for producers is
considered a precondition for any enterprise to embark on certification. In
large forest properties the direct certification costs will account for a
small share of the total and can therefore be absorbed by producers. In the
case of small-scale forest owners, the situation is different as the impact on
total costs of direct certification costs can be significant, becoming an
obstacle. Certification schemes should specifically consider appropriate
cost-effective ways for the certification of small-scale forest owners.


1.4  Diversity of Situations

Different interested parties have different views on C&L as an instrument
since the current state-of-the-art on certification and labelling of forest
products is inadequate to assess its effectiveness in promoting SFM, and
because the national situations vary in terms of possibilities to make use of
this tool. Those countries which depend on markets where C&L are preferred or
required, are seeking ways as to how this instrument could be made effective
and cost-efficient. The second group of countries see some benefit in some
instances in applying C&L, but more information is needed on market demand and
possible effectiveness of the instrument. The third group of countries view
C&L as being of minor relevance due to their particular national situations.
This diversity of situations needs to be duly considered when C&L arrangements
are considered at the international level. Continuous exchange of information
and experience would also be useful.


2  Trade Aspects

In relation to international trade, governments have obligations through WTO
mechanisms to develop a framework for open trade.  Labelling is being
addressed in the WTO. WTO is considering Production and Processing Methods
(PPM) and environmental issues but this may take time. 

The principal concepts of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
which may be of relevance to proposals for certification and labelling
include:

- non-discriminatory treatment
- avoidance of unnecessary barriers to trade
- transparency
- encouragement to use international standards and to develop harmonization
- encouragement for the acceptance of "equivalent" standards and mutual
  recognition

Also of significance is the potential confusion which might be caused by a
proliferation of schemes in the market.

It is noted that no trade provisions in Multilateral Environmental Agreements
(MEA's) have been challenged.

It may be useful to identify the preconditions needed so that certification
schemes can be seen to be in alignment with the principles of WTO.  It is
noted that the TBT agreement contains provisions for certification systems of
non-governmental bodies.

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has evolved
principles for preparing standards which have influenced WTO requirements for
TBT's.  It was noted that some participants expressed their concern about the
appropriateness of ISO in certification and labelling in the environmental
field.

Developing international agreements takes a long time and therefore it is
important to note existing and prospective systems and their potential for
contributing to the process for achieving certification and labelling.

Labelling can help to provide the consumer with information to make buying
decisions and to offer opportunities for choice.

To relieve tension between certification schemes and free trade, it is
essential to examine and clarify, inter alia, the following criteria:

a.  Open access and non-discrimination in respect of all types of forest,
forest owners, managers and operators
b.  Proportionality:  not more trade-restrictiveness than necessary to achieve
the environmental objective
c.  Transparency
d.  Credible 
e.  Non-deceptive
f.  Related to Sustainable Forest Management
g   Cost-effective
h.  A participatory process which seeks to involve all interested parties
i.  Be implementable and practical 
j.  Needs of interested parties, particularly weaker members

It was suggested that there might be a place for a working group within an
appropriate forum to identify some of the issues in relation to forestry
trade.


3.    Impacts of Certification on Sustainable ForestManagement


The impact of certification on SFM is expressed in two components:
-  Improvement of the quality of forest policy and management, and the state
of the eco-system
-  Expansion of the size of the area where improvement takes place.

The demand for wood from sustainably managed forest can encourage supply
through the mechanism of certification. Certification is both a tool for
identification of the source of the wood and the establishment of a threshold
for the quality of forest management. Certification may serve other functions
such as satisfying environmental concerns about forest management and provides
independent third party audit of forest management.

Many countries are making progress towards sustainable forest management
following their commitments to the UNCED Forest Principles.

3.1  Criteria and Indicators for Certification

An important element of a certification scheme is the standard used for the
assessment of the sustainability of the forest. A standard is a set of
principles of criteria and indicators, (C and I) placed in a hierarchical
framework. C and I are tools to conceptualize, evaluate and implement
sustainable forest management.

C and I may be formulated to serve at international, national and local levels
(FMU). Sets of C and I for use at the FMU level have been developed to assess
the quality of management and the ecosystem. C and I have been developed for
use at the international and national levels mainly to facilitate reporting
and monitoring and represent an additional instrument of forest policy. Sets
of C and I developed for different purposes and for application at different
levels may not be fully compatible without adjustments. Internationally agreed
C and I for SFM require further evaluation and adjustment at national level
and FMU level before the implementation of a certification system. 

There is a set of P and C, developed by FSC which serves as a reference
standard for the assessments of the FMU. So far 26 FMU's have been certified
and others are in the process of being assessed. Those forests which have been
certified had initially a high quality of management.

The credibility of certification schemes rest on the participation of all
interested parties in the evolution of standards (P, C and I). The importance
of bringing indigenous knowledge into the process of formulating and assessing
C and I is emphasized.

Certification schemes need to be further developed and improved, by learning
from practical experience and from further research. Evaluation by different
CIFOR test teams showed important commonalities in the preferred ecological C
and I and, to a lesser extent, in social C and I's. Nevertheless consistency
of the sets of P, C and I and the assessment procedures need to be improved.

Further work should be undertaken in the development of C and I for the social
components of sustainable forest management, and for biodiversity. Also the
hierarchical framework needs improvement to facilitate the development of
consistent sets of P, C and, I.

Linkages between the formulation of C and I at the various levels -
international, national, and the FMU - should be established. A study has
shown that it is feasible to apply and adjust a globally developed standard to
regional vonditions. Adjustments of criteria and indicators should be aimed to
match the specific conditions pertinent to the region. Such specific
conditions may comprise history of forest management, land-use planning
procedures and the structure of forest ownership. Studies of the relevance and
applicability for regional or national conditions of existing international
sets of C and I and of adjustments which may be necessary would contribute to
the use of the standard
at FMU level.


3.2  Impact on Forest Management

The impacts of certification are both direct and indirect. They are most
direct on each individual forest which is assessed for certification purposes.
The assessment may be related to the production of timber or non timber
products. It may also be related to forest management not directed at
production. The potential limits of the impact of certification of timber
products originating from sustainably managed forest are determined by the
size of the productive forest area and the volume of the produced wood.
Certification is considered to be a market-based instrument at present
focussed principally on timber which is traded internationally. Out of the
total amount of timber harvested worldwide, about 10 % (350 million m3) enters
the international market every year. It is estimated that only 5.5 % of the
timber produced in tropical countries is traded internationally. At present
the demand for timber from sustainably managed forest is evident mainly in
environmentally sensitive markets including Western Europe, which absorbs less
than 2 % of the volume of exported tropical timber.

Potential impacts of certification may vary between forest regions. There
could be a significant influence on boreal forest management as a result of
environmental requirements imposed by European buyers and users of pulp and
paper. Due to the relatively high standard of forest management in temperate
forest regions impacts of certification may be less spectacular but none the
less may result in adaptions of forest regimes. Impacts of certification on
tropical forests may appear limited in relation to the vast entire area of
tropical forests.

Impacts of certification may be positive or negative. Potential benefits
include access to specific markets, prestige for the forest manager and the
local community, increased motivation of forest managers and policy-makers,
the element of additional technical advice as a result of the inspection and
monitoring activities, catalyst for innovation, strengthened consultation
processes, potential for mobilizing new financial resources, improved
recognition of increasingly valuable non-timber products and services,
creating increased understanding of SFM, contributing to land use and forest
policy formulation at the national level.

Negative impacts include the costs of implementing certification and the
incremental costs of improving forest management. Possibly the process of
improving forest management might be seen as a national obligation. Also
benefits in the long-term such as reinstalled productive capacity may be
expected.

Forest managers may react against certification during the transition period.
Countries which have at present little capacity to step up the quality of
forest management may feel that they are discriminated against and anticipate
a loss of access to some markets. This may result in overcutting in the short
term and loss of forest to other land use in the long term.

Possible contradictions between requirements imposed by external certification
standards and national legislation may be an obstacle to certification, but
this should be resolvable through consultative processes.

Certification of small forest lots and small forest holdings might be achieved
if owners grouped themselves into associations or other appropriate groupings.
Ecological criteria and indicators for small forest units should be
established through a consultative process involving relevant interest groups.

Air pollution poses stress problems for sustainability of some forests and
other forests may be faced with special problems which affect sustainability
and certification.


4.  Implementation Aspects

In order to get an overview of the state of the art of C&L, six examples
covering different levels of developing and on-going certification schemes
were presented. The examples were representative of the main existing
environmental management systems, standards, and certificates or labels.

4.1  Standards and Certification Process

Standards (including performance standards and management system standards)
are used as a basis for the assessment of applicants to a certification
scheme. Performance standards are derived from the principles, criteria and
indicators (C&I) for certification of sustainable forest management. Existing
forest management certification programmes generally share similar common
principles. FSC provides international certification principles and criteria
for forest management, which include performance standards and management
system standards. Due to the heterogeneity of forest situations, international
standards are adjusted regionally, nationally and locally. The ISO 14000
Series framework does not contain performance standards and leaves it to the
applicant to define the measures to be taken to achieve improvement in
environmental performance.

Certification processes are in different stages of development by the various
certification bodies and contain as main phases: (i) pre-assessment; (ii)
adjustments of standards to local conditions, (iii) assessment, (iv) peer
review, (v) certification decision, and (vi) periodic review of compliance. 
It is generally recognised that the process for drafting standards and
implementation procedures should seek to involve all interested parties.

4.2  Institutional and Organisational Arrangements

Existing schemes are organised according to a large variety of different
institutional arrangements. A certification body (private, semi-governmental
or governmental) can be responsible for the assessment of applicants,
establish certification standards and procedures, and establish the rules for
the use of a certificate or label.  Other important questions in this context
are the separation of different functions, e.g. assessment and issuance of the
certificate/label, the grouping of several certifiers under a governing body
of a certification scheme, and/or the existence of a standard-setting body
which is not involved in certification. 

Accreditation is required for all certification bodies to give credibility
with regard to their procedures and quality of assessment. Accreditation
bodies can be national (e.g. National Standard Institutes/Councils) or
international (e.g. FSC). In the presentation, the need for a strong
international accreditation agency was expressed, in order to provide the
basis for mutual recognition of national certification schemes.

4.3  Procedures for Forest Management Certification

Credibility: Separation of actors' roles. A major concern of forest management
certification is the question of credibility, in particular, independence and
reliability. A certification body may face a conflicting situation if it
assesses the performance of an applicant and, at the same time, issues the
certificate. Considering that the applicant has to pay the certifier for the
certification process, strict professionalism must prevail to maintain
independence. 

Reliability. The question of reliability of forest management certification is
closely linked with the recent development suggesting that certification will
expand. The actual human resource base in field assessment and managing
certified forests is very narrow.  Considering that the assessment of forest
management is a complex task, the scarcity of qualified human resources for
certification might cause serious problems and represent an important risk
factor for the long-term reliability of certifications. However, capacity
building in certification has not yet been widely undertaken.

Benchmarks.  Considering that certification at forest management unit level is
voluntary, criteria and indicators may be set above those defined in national
forest legislation. A crucial issue is the definition of these benchmarks
which should be achieved or exceeded. However, preliminary experiences in some
tropical countries (e.g. Indonesia) have shown that forest management
certification facilitates the process of achieving sustainability of forest
management. 

Economic Aspects.  The costs for certification, which may vary by country and
local conditions, are a major concern for small forest owners or
concessionaires, for whom certification might even become an obstacle to
market access. Incremental costs might also be higher in tropical forests,
considering the specific ecological and economic situations and the fact that
forest management practices have still to be further developed.  Concrete
experiences in economic benefits are scarce.

4.4  Chain-of-custody

A major concern, which is only partially resolved, is the monitoring of the
chain-of-custody from the producer to the consumer, in both the exporting and
importing countries.  The chain-of-custody for forest products is a highly
complex issue that could have substantial cost implications and should be
further studied. 

4.5  Credibility of Labelling

Experience has shown that recognising the need for consumer confidence is
necessary for any successful labelling scheme.  Consumer confusion is created
by the proliferation of certification initiatives.  Furthermore, measures to
deal with false or misleading claims need to be clarified and examined in the
national and international context.  In addition, effective promotion of
certified forest products requires the education of consumers.

4.6  International Issues

Although some cooperation and coordination between initiatives and different
levels of certification bodies exists, it has, to date, been at an informal
level.  In view of the proliferation of certification initiatives, the
existence of an adequate international framework was considered desirable to
enable mutual recognition of certification systems.  Closer collaboration and
cooperation between the different actors is considered to be of utmost
importance.

The approaches and standards of FSC and ISO which perform different functions,
are independent, complementary and not contradictory.  However, both
institutions are perceived by some to have problems of representation.  The
Working Group discussed the potential and constraints of FSC and ISO, as well
as other organisations dealing with certification, including the issue of
representation and participation. 

Developing countries have limited capacity and resources to achieve
sustainable forest management and they also face the risk of being
disadvantaged with regard to meeting the emerging demand for certification. 
Stronger development assistance is necessary to reduce the gap between
developing and developed countries in this regard.


4.7   Conclusions on Implementation

Despite considerable progress made during the past years, certification of
forest management and labelling of forest products are still in the initial
operational stages and will require time and experience before well-defined
and broadly accepted procedures are fully developed and operational. It is
therefore still too early to assess the effectiveness of this instrument in
achieving its two main goals: improved forest management and improved market
access. 

The degree of acceptance for certification schemes is increasing in spite of
continuing differences of opinion as to the need and value of the tool.
Certification and labelling are now evolving from conceptualization to
commercial implementation. 



Bonn, 16 August 1996


                                      ANNEX

           Experts' Working Group Meeting (German-Indonesian Initiative)
            "Trade, Labelling of Forest Products and Certification of
                         Sustainable Forest Management"
                       Bonn, Germany, 12 - 16 August 1996


LIST OF PAPERS

Working Group 1:

1.  "Certified Tropical Timber and Consumer Behaviour" by K. L. Brockmann
2.  "Cost and Benefit of Sustainability in Forestry" by Prof. Dr. E. F.
Bruenig
3.  "Costs and Benefits of Forest Certification" by Guido Fuchs

Working Group 2:

4.  "Trade and Labelling of Timber and Timber Products" by A. Michaelowa
5.  "Trade and Labelling" by S. Vaughan

Working Group 3:

6.  "Assessment of the FSC Catalogue for the Certification of Sustainable
Forest Management under Central European Conditions"  by Anke Firnhaber and
Prof. Dr. Karl-Reinhard Volz

7.  "Developing Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management" 
by Dr. Prabhu

8.  "Impacts of Timber Certification on Sustainable Forest Management", Part 1
and 2,  by H. J. Droste

9.  "Impacts of Certification on Sustainable Forest Management" by Guido Fuchs

10.  "Case Study Quintana Roo, Mexico" by Mr. Henning Flachsenberg

11.  "Principles for Certification & Accreditation" by Dr. Timothy Synnott

12.  "Programme of the Certification of Forest Products as a Tool for
Sustainable Management of Russian Forests" by Valentin V. Strakhov

Working Group 4:
13.  "Timber Certification, Goals, Limitations and Possibilities" by Stefan
Schardt

14.  "The FSC Accreditation Programme: Introduction and Overview"
by Dr. T. Synnott and M. Wenban-Smith

15.  "Assessment of Forest Concessions in Indonesia for the Review of Their
Preparedness Toward Year 2000 Objective for Sustainable Forest Management" by
Prof. Achmed Sumitro

16.  "ISO 14000 Environmental Management Standards" by Ken Shirley

17.  "The Development of Certification for Sustainable Forest Management, Case
Study in Indonesia" by Mr. Boedijono

18.  "Principles, Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of
African Tropical Forests" by the African Timber Organization (ATO)

19.  "Forest Certification and Timber Product Eco-Labelling Scheme of the
African Timber Organization" by the African Timber Organization

20.  Indonesian Ecolabel Institute Certification Scheme of Sustainable Forest
Management Practices by Riga Adiwoso Suprapto, PhD.

 


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Date last posted: 7 December 1999 12:45:30
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