The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the many jobs that we often don’t see and don’t value enough. Jobs in healthcare, supermarkets and delivery services have come to the centre of attention, but there are so many more hidden jobs, for example in the forest.

PEFC CEO Ben Gunneberg spoke with PEFC Head of Communications, Thorsten Arndt, about the hidden heroes in forestry.

“There are quite a few hidden heroes in the forestry world,” says Ben. “Many products we have in the shops wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for them.”

In fact, forests and their value chains are of critical importance for sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, especially in remote rural areas.

And forestry work concerns us all. Forests deliver invaluable benefits, from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and forestry workers around the world make sure they continue to do so.

A dangerous profession

At the same time, forestry work is still among the most dangerous professions in the world, with operations taking place in highly varying terrain and climatic conditions, using chain saws and heavy machinery. It is therefore vital to improve occupational safety through training and adequate risk management.

PEFC certification promotes safe working conditions as well as equal opportunities, non-discrimination and freedom from workplace harassment, in addition to compliance with fundamental ILO conventions.

“For us at PEFC, health and safety are absolutely paramount. You can’t have sustainable forestry unless you have safe working conditions and safe working practices for forestry workers,” Ben explains.

“We have conditions in place for sustainable forestry to make sure that everybody gets treated fairly and equally on site. You need to have the proper equipment to make sure that you don’t damage the environment and you don’t damage the forestry worker either.”

In conversation with…

‘In conversation with…’ is our new video series in which sustainability experts exchange their opinions of current issues in the forestry world.

Stay tuned, as the next conversation is already on the way. Ben Gunneberg will discuss with Coen van der Veer, Global Wood and Forestry Director at Building and Wood Worker’s International (BWI) COVID-19

See PEFC’s latest COVID-19 guidance for certification bodies and certified entities.

Responsible Wood is the National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia. To find out more about PEFC in Australia please visit www.responsiblewood.org.au