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The buzz on green supply chains

A drone’s-eye view of a log depot near Douala, Cameroon—one of the links in the tropical timber supply chain. Photo: Andrew Walmsley/TRAFFIC

A drone’s-eye view of a log depot near Douala, Cameroon—one of the links in the tropical timber supply chain. Photo: Andrew Walmsley/TRAFFIC

There’s plenty of talk these days about “sustainable” or “green” supply chains and how these could help save forests while benefiting producers and consumers. But what are they?

In this edition of the TFU, ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle (page 3) writes that green tropical-timber supply chains “would bring benefits to all stakeholders, from forest owners in the tropics to consumers of the final products—as well as to the global environment”. Businesses might want to implement green supply chains because they are good corporate citizens, but, according to a recent workshop in China (reported in Dr Dieterle’s article), the private sector also sees green supply chains as a means for reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

Holistic approach essential for tropical forestry, says ITTO

Ms Shemala Satkuru delivers a keynote address at the 18th Malaysian Forest Conference. Photo: MFC2018

Ms Shemala Satkuru delivers a keynote address at the 18th Malaysian Forest Conference. Photo: MFC2018

A holistic approach to sustainable forest management (SFM) in the tropics is needed to maximize the contribution of the tropical forest sector to global needs, according to Shemala Satkuru, ITTO Assistant Director of Operations. Ms Satkuru was speaking at the 18th Malaysian Forest Conference: Advancing Sustainable Forestry through Digitalization and Technology, held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on 31 July–2 August 2018.

The increasing global population will demand more timber, more forest products and more food, said Ms Satkuru. “A cross-sectoral approach between forestry and agriculture needs to be enhanced to enable concerted solutions on land-use management to meet current and future challenges.”

Sustainable forest management needs “incentives revolution”, says Executive Director

ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle says governments needed to do more to encourage sustainable forest management (SFM) in the tropics, including by providing incentives.

“In many countries, unsustainable production is more profitable than sustainable practices, which are more expensive,” he said. “So we need a revolution in terms of how the public sector is providing incentives and how it promotes sustainable forest management against unsustainable forest management.” Dr Dieterle made the comments as part of a panel discussion, “Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World”, held during the 24th session of FAO’s Committee on Forestry and sixth World Forestry Week, held in Rome, Italy, on 16–20 July.

Collaboration key to achieving deforestation-free supply chains, say experts

Some of the world’s leading forest experts say that collaboration between forest producers and the consumers of tropical timber is crucial for developing “deforestation-free” supply chains as a means to reduce deforestation and boost economic development. Speaking in a video produced by ITTO, Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle and representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Center for International Forestry Research, Global Canopy, and Forest Trends reflect on the challenges involved in ensuring that the supply of timber encourages sustainable forest management and helps in halting tropical deforestation. Achieving such deforestation-free supply chains will take, they say, political will, highly motivated individuals, good governance, and collaboration between sectors as well as among forest managers, logging, transport, processing and retail companies, civil-society organizations, and governments. They spoke during the International Symposium on the Promotion of Deforestation-Free Global Supply Chains to Contribute to Halting Deforestation, which was convened in Tokyo, Japan, by Japan’s Forest Agency, ITTO and FAO in January 2018.

Tropical timber, bamboo and rattan could help bridge supply gap for environmentally friendly materials  

Participants in the Global Bamboo Congress 2018 (BARC2018) held late last month agreed that the tropical timber and bamboo and rattan sectors need to work together to meet the increasing demand for forest products due to population growth, close the supply gap for sustainable building materials, and conserve tropical forests. There was consensus that tropical timber, bamboo and rattan co-exist and complement each other as commodities, and the ecosystems of which they are part play important roles in climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

As an important first step towards greater interaction between the sectors, ITTO and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during BARC2018 to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations.

Chinese timber companies commit to jointly develop the global green supply chain

A workshop and dialogue co-convened by ITTO in China in late June concluded with a call by twelve leading Chinese forest products enterprises—with a combined annual turnover of RMB 80 billion (about US$12 billion)—for the establishment of a global green supply chain (GGSC) initiative, to be facilitated by ITTO.

ITTO has a mandate to promote sustainable forest management (SFM) and the expansion and diversification of tropical timber trade from legal and sustainable sources. In collaboration with the Center for International Forest Products Trade of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China (CINFT/NFGA), ITTO organized the International Workshop on Global Green Supply Chain of Forest Products and Dialogue with Chinese Leading Forest Products Enterprises in Beijing, China, on 21–22 June 2018 with the aim of promoting interest in green supply chains in China’s vast timber sector.