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Developing Certified Forests, Forest Products and Markets for China: An International Conference

April 5, 2008

The recent Developing Certified Forests, Forest Products, and Markets Conference, which took place on April 2 - 3, 2008 in Beijing, China, brought together more than 45 speakers and over 240 people from industry, government, financial institutions, NGOs and academia.


The conference aimed to explore market trends for certified forest products, focusing on the important role China plays both domestically and globally. Over the course of the conference, landowners, manufacturers, retailers and goverments illustrated their innovations in sourcing strategies. We learned from companies like Tembec, the worldツ's largest owner of Forest Stewardship Council-certified land, and a major supplier of pulp, about the ways certification has helped them secure their supply chain, promote their products, improve their processes and grow their reputation as an industry leader. The Chinese government State Forestry Administration showed us how they engage multiple stakeholders to address social and environmental issues within in the forestry sector. We also heard about the benefits of certification from international companies like Suzano, TetraPak and Stora Enso; Chinese companies like Natur Flooring, Sino Panel and the Muling Forest Bureau; international retailers like Gibson USA, IKEA, Kingfisher/B&Q Stores and Walmart; investors such as HSBC and International Finance Corporation, and organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the American Forest and Paper Association, Greenpeace, WWF, The Nature Conservancy, IUCN, Forest Trends and Tropical Forest Trust.

Key trends that emerged at the conference include:

1. The role of government is increasing. International initiatives like Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and national governments can drive demand by enacting procurement policies that favor certified products, influencing responsible performance through tax and customs policies and by increasing support of certification as a solution.


2. Businesses now recognize that certification is a powerful way to manage risk in the supply chain, access emerging "green" markets, be responsible to their shareholders and stakeholders (workers, communities) and stay competitive in a volatile and dynamic business climate.

3. Third-party independent certification of sustainable practices has trumped unverified company claims, industry-backed compliance schemes and even government regulatory mechanisms as a way to build trust among customers, buyers and shareholders.

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