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Strengthening the business case for sustainable forest management

Publication

Authors: Petra Westerlaan

General - 2019

Language: English

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This report present the results of a study on bottlenecks and opportunities for sustainable forest management and for strengthening its business case in timber producer countries, namely: Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Myanmar and Suriname. The study was undertaken as part of the design of an effective action plan in the framework of the Dutch International Corporate Social Responsibility Covenant ‘Promoting sustainable forest management’.

The focus of the study is on tropical forests and timber because globally, forest management certification has the lowest uptake in the tropics, and the corporate social responsibility risks for the timber sector are considered highest for tropical hardwoods. Data collection was undertaken through 30 interviews with key persons between January and April 2018, and a review of literature and online databases. The main questions were what are key motivations of forest managers to take up responsible forest management certification, and what are the costs and benefits, and what are the main barriers and solutions to scaling up sustainable forest management at community, private sector and government level?

Results indicated that market demand and market access are the two most important reasons for forest managers to engage in responsible forest management certification. In practice, this means export-oriented forestry businesses with markets in Europe are most likely to engage in certification. Other motivations include the availability of well-designed donor support programmes, company image and brand reputation, expected financial benefits (price premium), investors stipulating the need for certification, and pressure from NGOs, and other companies. Two other important factors are the size of the forestry operation, and current level of sustainability, as those who see a smaller gap between current practice and certification requirements are more likely to engage.
 

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