Cooperation with green consumers toward demand expansion of sustainable timber products – WFC2015 Side Event(2015/10/16)

  World Forestry Congress was held in Durban, South Africa from 7 to 11 September 2015. In the afternoon of 11 Sept, my side event "Cooperation with green consumers toward demand expansion of sustainable timber products" was organized as planned.

I went to the WFC for hosting this side event mainly, and it was fortunately the last day of the WFC, I had promoted my event at the related sessions every day.
14th World Forestry Congress (WFC XIV) - Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future IISD 

It aimed to promote the Japan’s efforts on enhancing timber use and better traceability. We discussed about Japan’s timber legality schemes and so forth with 30 participants from 10 countries.

The significant result of the 3rd party certification schemes which was developed in ‘90s, include CoC systems connecting the forest information to the consumers, is extended discussion of concept of the forest management to wider stakeholders including the end consumers, not only amongst producing side of stakeholders.

However, such “Green supply chain management” method depends on efficiency and social responsibility which works for large scale companies in the center of supply chains, that is not always feasible for small and medium size enterprises which consist majority of Japanese timber industry.

Japanese legality verification guideline challenged this problem and the main message of this side event was that Japan guideline has versatility potential globally. Also the guidance is an important tool to address not only “illegal logging” which is a particular issue, but broader enhancement of forest management governance together with general public.

The participants of the side event was not many than I expected, but during whole through the congress, I discussed about this topic with more than 50 people, confirmed the future cooperation.

  (Introduction)
To address global illegal logging issues, the Japanese government decided in 2006 that timberproducts and building materials whose legality has been verified should be preferentially procured, and as a guideline for suppliers of wood and wood products, the Forestry Agency published the "Guideline for Verification on Legality and Sustainability of Wood and Wood Products" (hereinafter the "Guideline"): ten years will have passed in February 2016 since this Guideline was published.
 The system to verify legality based on this Guideline, which more than 11,000 business operators participate in and implement, is internationally well known as "Gohowood".
 This system has been compared frequently with measures against illegal logging being taken in the U.S. and the EU.
As a leading member who has been involved in implementation of this system from the very beginning, in this article I discuss its significance and present challenges to the system in Japan from a global point of view. I hope that new horizons will be opened up in this important system as it marks its 10th anniversary.

3 handouts were distributed at the congress venue. You can find both English and Japanese version from link below.

 English Version  日本文資料
Illegal Logging Issues - Significance and Challenges: Pertinence of Forest Management Governance in Japan & Other Countries 、
 Experience of the activities of the Woodmiles Forum in Japan
 Text of the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Buildings etc(PDF)
 Guideline for Verification on Legality and Sustainability of Wood and Wood Products