Forests are the lungs of our planet and provide many important benefits to the global environment, population, and economy. They are essential in mitigating the effects of climate change and natural disasters, while also serving as one of the richest biological areas on Earth. Additionally, forests provide food, heat, energy, medicine, and renewable raw materials to people around the world. However, despite their importance, we have lost some 178 million hectares of forest since 1990, according to the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020.
To combat global deforestation, the concept of independently certifying forest management practices was developed in the 1990s as a voluntary tool for promoting sustainable forest management and the trade of products originating in sustainably managed forests. Presently, the total combined area of certified forests under certification schemes globally is less than ten percent of global forests.
This year’s theme highlights these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In 1999, PEFC recognised the need for an independent mechanism that would enable the development of national standards tailored to the unique political, economic, social, environmental, and cultural conditions of each country. This mechanism would ensure compliance with internationally accepted requirements and gain global recognition. To achieve this, small and family forest owners from Europe collaborated to create a forest certification system that would demonstrate their excellence in sustainable forest management.
Australia joined the PEFC system in 2004. In Australia, Responsible Wood is the national member of PEFC International. As an accredited standards development organisation, Responsible Wood has developed an endorsed joint Australian and New Zealand standard for sustainable forest management (AS/NZS 4708-2021).
This year’s logo celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
As the world celebrates the International Day of Forests, Responsible Wood seeks to remind consumers of the importance of certification in ensuring the sustainable management of forest-based products.
Responsible Wood emphasises the need for consumers to look for certification marks when purchasing timber and other forest products.
“Certification provides confidence to consumers that forest-based products come from responsibly managed forests,” says Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood. “By choosing certified products, consumers are helping to support sustainable forest management practices, which in turn helps to protect forests and the vital ecosystem services they provide.”
According to Dorries, certification schemes like Responsible Wood provide a transparent and credible means of verifying that forest-based products meet strict environmental, social, and economic standards.
“Certification is an important tool for ensuring that forests are managed in a way that balances the needs of people, wildlife, and the environment,” he added.
“By choosing certified timber, paper, and other forest products, consumers can help to create a market for sustainably managed products and support the responsible management of our precious forests,” Dorries said.
Promoting forest sustainability: Responsible Wood certified Australian native forest.
“As we celebrate the International Day of Forests, we must remember that forests are essential for the health of our planet and our communities,” said Dorries. “By working together to support sustainable forest management, we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the many benefits that forests provide.”
Responsible Wood’s Sustainability Manager, Matt de Jongh adds, “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at our company, and responsible forest management is a key part of that. By using certified products, consumers are not only meeting the UN’s sustainability goals, but they are also sending a message that organisation’s are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously.”
“As a Sustainability Manager, I am proud to work for a company that recognises the importance of responsible forest management. We believe that sustainable forest management is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for local communities, workers, and a renewable resources economy.”
Communications Manager Jonathan Tibbits continues, “We know that consumers are increasingly looking for products that are produced in an environmentally responsible way. By using certified products, we can offer our customers the assurance that they are making a sustainable choice.”
“As we mark the International Day of Forests, it is important to remember that the forests of the world are a precious resource that we must all work to protect. By choosing certified products, we can all play a part in promoting responsible forest management and helping to ensure a sustainable future for our planet.”
To mark the International Day of Forests, Responsible Wood is calling on businesses and consumers alike to commit to using certified products wherever possible.