To celebrate the number of FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certificates reached more than 10,000, we are running a series of interviews on our CoC certificate holders in the Asia Pacific region. This is the story from Thailand.
Company: Vichit Parquet (FSC-C122498)
Interviewee: Mr.Ekasit Aneksitithisin, Managing Director (right), Mr.Thanaphon Aneksittisin, Deputy Managing Director (left)
No. of employee: 135
Industry: processor, trader (in the value chain of Ikea)
Have been with FSC since: 2014
1. When and where did you first heard about FSC?
The first time we heard about FSC was about four/five years ago from the Thai timber association on the topics related to of timber wood updates. Several requirements about FSC were mentioned. At that time FSC sounded so distant to us because we only sell our products locally within the country. We have no export market.
2. What motivates you to join FSC and become a CH?
There are two main reasons that motivated us to join FSC. The first one is because we joined the pilot project initiated by the Forest Industry Organization, which the project offered us consultancy services and fully subsidized the audit costs for the first two years. The second reason is we see it as a chance to expand our market. Our then main product were staircases, and we think FSC certification can help us to expand the product lines.
3.What are the biggest changes you’ve observed since your company joining FSC?
We are an SME with no experience in certification before. In the past, we did what we thought was good but we never really knew if it was really good or not because we could not verify it. There have been second party certification audits at our plant but they mainly focus on their products and they don’t really look at the quality or the management of our factory. FSC CoC audit not only contributes to product input-output management system improvement, but also the health and safety inspection, process control, which contribute to overall better operation in the factory.
4. What are the benefits that brought to you from being part of FSC CoC?
FSC CoC system helps us set up our traceability system from raw material input to end product output. The system introduced by FSC CoC is now used for non-certified wood as well. Every piece of wood that enters our plant will be marked with the dates received, the supplier code, type of wood, etc. Along the production line, more codes will be added. Whenever there are any problems with our products, we can trace back to the cause of the problem and solve it right away. Our customers became more confident in our services.
FSC CoC audits also improves our overall operation. The auditors from our Certification Body, BV, is very thorough and we feel that our operation gets better every year due to the improved audit quality.
5. What is “forest” to you?
For me “forest” means “conservation” and “origin of living creatures”. It is the concept that has always been in Thai culture. “Forest” does not only related to the raw production but something that should be conserved.
6. What are the things you like most about FSC?
It’s the FSC CoC connections. As the name itself already says, “Chain of Custody” means all the actors are linked through one chain. This connection within the chain brings me new business opportunities. Thanks to the FSC connections to bring me to other FM and CoCs. The online database also allows suppliers to find my company.
7. What change would you like to see in the industry?
We would like to see Thai consumers be more aware of the sustainable use of wood products. Currently, the consumers do not know that timber is one of the most environmentally friendly products. There is still big misunderstanding that timber products should not be used because it contributes to deforestation, so they opt for man-made wood (composite wood from cement) instead. They are not aware of the fact that wood is not only environmentally friendly but also renewable materials if being properly managed and harvested from sustainable forests.
8. What do you want to say to FSC reaching 10K milestone in APAC?
Actually in Thailand FSC is one of the most well-known standards in the timber industry. Many people know FSC logo from beverage packages. FSC has a big potential to grow in timber sector as well. FSC could certainly do more on market promotion in different sectors such as construction industry.
Did you know that…
In Thailand, due to the stringent laws and regulations which ban the use of natural forests, eucalyptus and rubber are the main two commercial timbers in the country. FSC rubber wood demand in Thailand has been mainly driven by MNCs, such as Ikea’s commitment to source FSC- certified wood. In June 2014, the CoC number in Thailand was 49, but it has increased to 120 in June 2017. FM area increased from 25,698 ha (June, 2014) to 64,138 ha (June, 2017).