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11.03.2012, 12:27
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FSC Generation


FSC Generation

The number of people conscientiously preferring goods made of certified wood increases in Russia

Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, intends to adopt a new version of principles and criteria, which will be the key guiding document in the area of forest certification. The announcement was made by the Director of the regional FSC office for Russia and CIS countries Andrey Ptichnikov at the briefing dedicated to the results of 2011. FSC certified companies will have to take additional environmental and social liabilities. The requirements to the lawfulness of the forest material origin have become more stringent also because of the new European legislation, which will make import of products of dubious origin almost impossible in 2013. At the same time, the regional FSC office together with partner companies is actively developing the domestic consumption market for certified products. According to the forecasts, the awareness of the FSC logo in large metropolises will reach 5-10% by the end of 2012.

“When in 1998 the FSC office was just launching its activities in Russia, we could not even imagine that over 28 million hectares of forest would be certified. Today Russia is second only to Canada in terms of the area of certified forests”, says Andrei Ptichnikov. “To a large extent we succeeded thanks to large logging companies oriented towards environmentally sensitive markets of Western countries. We are sure that forest certification has bright future. Globalization of forest and paper material production, development of “green” economy and environmentally-conscious consumption in the world, including Russia, and tougher legislation on importing goods of dubious origin in some countries contribute to the process”.

As of the end of 2011, 148 million hectares of forests had been certified all over the globe, and certificate no. 23 000 had been issued, what is 2,6 times more than all forest certification systems together. I would like to remind that FSC is not the only voluntary forest certification system in the world. There are national and international structures operating in parallel to FSC. For instance, PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) has been launched in our country. This is a certification system for long-term forest use with the account of economic, environmental and social requirements. Some companies have already got the first certificates. However, according to Andrei Ptichnikov, there is no actual competition between them, - “On the contrary, we have some common grounds, and now we are working on adapting FSC and PEFC standards to the more stringent requirements of the European law”.

The evidence of the increased interest to the legitimacy of forest materials in the West is the last-year campaign on “hostilities between Ken and Barbie” launched by Greenpeace. Activists of Greenpeace found out that Mattel buys wood fiber for manufacturing packages for the legendary doll from “Asian Pulp and Paper” known to be cutting virgin forests on Sumatra destroying the last habitats of orangutans. Under the pressure from the green movement, Mattel had to find a different supplier of raw materials, which had FSC certificate.

In our country, the share of people who consciously prefer buying materials from managed forests is not as big as for example in Holland where 70% of the population know FSC logo and search for it on the goods. In connection with that, the regional FSC office embarked on developing environmentally sensitive market in Russia together with its partners. The partners are not only nature conservation organizations Greenpeace and WWF in Russia, but also trading companies interested in creating the image of socially and environmentally responsible business. For instance, the policy of McDonalds in the area of packaging for 2-3 years to come is to use only legal and preferably FSC certified sources.  In 2011, Moscow and Kiev Tetra Pak factories and Tetra Pak offices in Moscow, Kiev and Almaty obtained certificates for their supply chains from the Forest Stewardship Council. As early as this year, FSC logo will show up in Russian stores. Last year, the international FSC office launched a pilot goods database. It will enable to simplify the search for certified products and to find goods with FSC logo in each region. The revised principles and criteria, or FSC constitution, as Andrei Ptichnikov referred to them, will feature new social requirements to certified companies, and some new requirements will be added for tracing supply chains and climate impact. “Whereas earlier the audit was conducted on the basis of average norms for the sector”, he clarified, “in the future we will follow the International Labor Convention, which stipulates strict requirements to safety at work and culture at the working place. We will develop a new version of the National Forest Management Standard on the grounds of the adopted FSC principles and criteria. Surely the businesses will have a negative attitude to additional responsibilities for forest certification. But they will be forced to accept them in order to keep their positions on European markets and not to miss the growing demand for environmentally-friendly goods in Russia”.

An agreement with Green Building Council in Russia (RuGBC) was signed at the final briefing. The Council has been working in Russia for two years, and it issues international certificates LEED, BREEAM and others to construction companies. The cooperation will include the development of environmentally-friendly construction in the Russian Federation, joint efforts on specific projects, Olympics 2014 in Sochi first of all, development of requirements to materials and training seminars.

“Our goals have much in common, and we are planning to cooperate in the area of construction materials”, noted A. Ptichnikov. “We will facilitate seminars for construction companies and for “Olympstroi” so that they would use certified wood when building facilities in Sochi. Besides, our organizations are working with the organizational committee of the Olympic Games in order to encourage them to use certified paper, packaging materials, finishing materials and garden furniture. All those goods should be certified, because the organizers proclaim Sochi Olympics to be “green”.

Ivan YAKUBOV

(Translated by Vladimir Mineev)

 

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