A series of recent forest events have highlighted the role of green supply chains in promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) and the role of forests in achieving the SDGs. The XXV International Union of Forest Research (IUFRO) World Congress discussed the contribution of forests to the 2030 Agenda. An International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) dialogue highlighted the potential of green supply chains and agreed to create a voluntary network to promote them globally.
The XXV IUFRO World Congress convened in Curitiba, Brazil, from 29 September to 5 October. Over 3,000 people attended the Congress, which focused on various aspects of forest research. As part of the Congress, ITTO organized a technical session on global green supply chains as a driver of SFM.
Congress sessions also highlighted the role of forest supply chains in contributing to the SDGs. Participants presented research and shared experiences on different aspects of the wood supply chain and how they can support SFM. They stressed the potential of forest value chains to contribute to a number of the Goals, including SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 13 (climate action).
In October, the ITTO organized an International Forum titled, ‘Together Towards Global Green Supply Chains-A Forest Products Industry Initiative.’ The Forum convened in Shanghai, China, from 22-23 October and in Huzhou, China, from 24-25 October. Technical sessions focused on how to improve timber supply chains and ensure they are legal and sustainable. Over 350 people attended this dialogue, including representatives from the tropical timber industry and trade groups.
Participants recognized the importance of changing the perception that logging causes deforestation.
At the ITTO dialogue, companies pledged to help build a collaborative network of global green supply chains “to promote the sustainable development of forest industries and contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of global forest resources.” The Global Green Supply Chain (GGSC) network will work towards legal and sustainable supply chains from sustainably managed forests by enhancing the production, processing, distribution and consumption of legal and sustainable timber and wood products. The network will also foster collaboration among partners across global supply chains, help incentivize good production practices and contribute to responsible purchasing practices.
ITTO Chair John Leigh reflected that forests, especially tropical forests “contain extraordinary biodiversity, are crucial for efforts on climate change mitigation and have huge cultural importance for indigenous and other traditional peoples.” However, he recognized that forest land is often considered valuable for other uses, such as farming, ranching, mining and urban development. To minimize the risk of losing forests, Leigh stressed that “it is imperative” that forests generate substantive economic benefits for jobs, livelihoods and development. Within this context, he said green supply chains can help to ensure legal, sustainable timber from sustainably managed forests.
Participants also recognized the importance of changing the perception that logging causes deforestation. They supported eliminating illegality in the forest sector, noting that “illegal timber ruins the reputation of the entire sector and acts as a brake on increasing prices for legal timber”, hindering efforts to increase the competitiveness of sustainable forest management (SFM) as a land use. Participants also supported efforts to build trust among stakeholders in timber supply chains to increase transparency. [Congress Website] [ITTO Press Release on Congress] [ITTO Press Release on Value Chains] [ITTO Events Webpage]