The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the standard-setting and certification organization for sustainable forestry, will host its 5th annual premier global business event in Durban, South Africa from September 3rd to 5th. In Good Company 2015 (IGC 2015) will gather leading companies across sectors, brands and international NGOs to explore challenges and opportunities in forest certification.
The event will feature CEOs from Mondi Group, Portucel Soporcel Group, WWF South Africa and PAMSA in a panel discussion on unlocking the value of sustainable forest products, with the goal of better connecting people, forests and markets. It will also include open debates on consumer marketing of sustainable products, supply chain risks, plantations and deforestation, and the challenges tropical forest products face in the market.
IGC 2015 will be FSC’s first event since it launched its new branding, which aims to extend its reach by targeting consumers directly, and to take advantage of new markets. The tagline, Forests for All Forever, highlights FSC’s vision of saving the world’s forests for future generations. Its visual identity, which includes the animals and people who live and interact in forests, reinforces an all-encompassing approach to sustainable forest management, according to FSC.
“With markets opening up in Asia, Latin America and Africa, it was time go beyond outreach to producers and retailers,” said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC. “Supply grows in response to demand, and those at the end of the supply chain – consumers – are vital to ensuring companies seek out sustainable solutions and engage in responsible businesses practices."
FSC’s new branding was developed based on a marketing survey that reached 9,000 participants from 11 different countries in 2013. An online toolkit containing the new branding assets is helping businesses promote their FSC certification.
As of this month, nearly 185 million hectares (457 million acres) have been FSC certified, according to the organization’s website. A recent study by WWF showed there is concrete economic benefit to FSC certification, particularly for small and medium producers. On average, forestry companies can earn an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified timber.
IGC 2015 precedes the FAO’s World Forestry Congress (WFC 2015), the largest global forum on forestry issues, taking place on September 7th in Durban. This year, WFC participants will discuss the theme, Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future. The South African setting of both of these events offers a platform to discuss the social impacts of FSC certification and the importance of forests as a development resource.
This article was supported in part by the Forest Stewardship Council