Unlocking the Potential of Sustainable Forestry: Highlights from the International Conference on Timber Certification in Malaysia
In March of this year, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) and the Institute for Environment and Development, UniversitiKebangsaan Malaysia, hosted the highly anticipated International Conference on Timber Certification: Exploring Future Frontiers. Over the course of two days, the conference provided a platform for global experts to share insights and experiences on timber certification, policy implementation, and sustainable forest management.
Timber certification has become a crucial aspect of the international forestry industry, as it provides a means to ensure that timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests. The implementation of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) in Malaysia has been a significant milestone, earning recognition and endorsement from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) since 2009. This recognition has not only strengthened the credibility of MTCS, but has also positioned Malaysia as a leader in tropical forestry through timber certification.
PEFC and national governing body representatives at the conference
One of the key themes of the conference was policy implementation and community and industry experiences related to mainstreaming timber certification for sustainable forest management. With a diverse group of attendees representing various stakeholders involved in forest management, including biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, and the timber industry, the conference provided a platform for meaningful discussions and knowledge exchange.
The importance of international benchmarking and networking with industry from other regions was emphasized throughout the conference. Dr. Michael Berger, Secretary General and CEO of PEFC, presented on the topic of innovations in timber certification for a sustainable future. His talk provided valuable global and historical context on the technical role that certification plays in the world today, highlighting the need for continuous improvement and adaptation to evolving sustainability standards.
Another notable presentation was delivered by Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, who highlighted the significance of developing partnerships for a sustainable timber industry. He shared insights from the joint Australia and New Zealand sustainable forest management standard, which sets a benchmark for sustainable forestry in two countries with unique industry, cultural, ecological, and silvicultural issues. This model of partnership serves as an important example for other nations in the region that are looking to build their own forest sustainability infrastructure and seek endorsement from PEFC.
PEFC CEO Michael Berger presenting at the conference
The importance of certification, credibility, and market access for the region of Malaysia cannot be overstated. Timber provides more than 150,000 job opportunities in Malaysia and contributed RM25.2 billion in exports in 2022. Legality and certification are essential aspects that any industry must prioritize to enhance market access and ensure sustainability in the long term.
The conference also provided a platform for sharing case studies from around the world, showcasing the synergies in sustainable forest management. The exchange of knowledge and experiences among international experts further highlighted the importance of collaboration and mutual learning in advancing sustainable forestry practices.
The successful implementation of MTCS in Malaysia and its recognition by PEFC have not only contributed to sustainable forest management of tropical forests, but have also boosted the credibility and market access of Malaysian timber products internationally. As the forestry industry continues to face challenges such as illegal logging, deforestation, and climate change, timber certification remains a crucial tool for ensuring the sustainability of this valuable natural resource.
Responsible Wood CEO presenting at the conference
The International Conference on Timber Certification in Malaysia was a significant event that highlighted the importance of international benchmarking, networking with industry from other regions, and the role of certification, credibility, and market access for the sustainable management of forests in Malaysia and further abroad. The conference provided a platform for global experts to share insights and experiences, fostering collaboration and mutual learning among stakeholders. As Malaysia continues to play a leading role in tropical forestry through timber certification, it is imperative that industry players, policymakers, and communities work together to unlock the full potential of sustainable forestry for the benefit of present and future generations.