Responsible Wood, the National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia, has welcomed the release of a new report where PEFC has achieved the highest ranking in the assessment against the ASEAN RAI Guidelines.

In a recently published report assessing the alignment with ASEAN RAI, the PEFC Sustainable Forest Management principles scored 9.5 out of 10 points.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Guidelines for Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (ASEAN RAI) offer guidance on food, agriculture and forestry investments to agribusinesses, governments, financial institutions and producers.

The report Mapping of Industry & Investment Standards and Principles to the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry, published by Grow Asia, assessed the alignment between twelve regionally relevant food, agriculture and forestry (FAF) standards with the ASEAN Guidelines.

The report shows that agribusinesses or financial investors who are certified or signatories to many of the reviewed standards are also aligned with the ASEAN Guidelines. Certification against those standards therefore helps to demonstrate compliance with ASEAN RAI. The report also outlines how certifications or alignment to standards may help agribusinesses become more competitive and attractive to financiers.

Responsible Wood is the National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia

The Responsible Wood certification scheme uses the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AS 4708), a standard that is endorsed and mutually recognised through PEFC.

The report follows a comparison by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) released by the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Dutch Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) which also provided top marks for PEFC. The later released in June 2020.

Responsible Wood CEO, Simon Dorries, welcomed the release of the report and reiterated the importance of forest certification in meeting commitments for responsible and sustainable forest management.

“Responsible Wood and PEFC forest certification provides a framework for global forests to be managed sustainably for multi-generational use.”

“Whether its minimising poverty and hunger, promoting education, good health and wellbeing and gender equality or clean health, sanitation, affordable and clean energy and decent work opportunities, forest certification plays an all-important in setting benchmarks and standards.”

Top marks for PEFC

The report assessed the PEFC Sustainable Forest Management standard, comprising six main criteria.

“The first five PEFC principles align with the ASEAN RAI Guidelines on food nutrition, economic development, natural resources, climate change and rule of law and governance,” the report highlights.

“The sixth PEFC principle (maintenance or appropriate enhancement of socio-economic functions and conditions) emphasizes economic development, support to marginalized populations (women, young people, indigenous people) as well as tenure rights and data collection.”

With two out of six PEFC Sustainable Forest Management principles including specific references to regional policy and approaches, PEFC achieved a partial match with Guideline 10.

On the whole, PEFC Sustainable Forest Management principles align with 9.5 out of 10 of the ASEAN RAI Guidelines.

Other standards assessed in the report include Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Rainforest Alliance.

The ASEAN Guidelines

The primary purpose of the ASEAN Guidelines is to promote investment in food and agriculture, including fisheries and forestry, in the ASEAN region that contributes to regional economic development, food and nutrition security, food safety and equitable benefits, as well as the sustainable use of natural resources.

The Guidelines distil the global best practices for ensuring that larger scale agribusiness investments are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable and inclusive. It provides future partners of such investments a roadmap for future investments. The Guidelines aim to become the de facto foundation of these type of agricultural investments across Southeast Asia.

Responsible Wood is the National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia.  A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Responsible Wood website.