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FSC Unsung Heroes – Who’s Behind FSC? #1 Zhao Gaojun, Forest Management Auditor, BV (China)

FSC is proud to be the world’s most trusted sustainable forest management solution
to deliver positive impacts for the forests, markets, and people – for today and tomorrow. We cannot do this alone and we are grateful to have so many partners and supporters around the world to work together with us.

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2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of FSC. We’ll talk to those unsung heroes in the Asia Pacific region that help grow FSC tall and strong.

 

#1. Zhao Gaojun, Forest Management Auditor, BV (China)

Zhao Gaojun BV FM auditor

Certification Bodies (CBs) are key to FSC’s assurance system and market expansion. Mr Zhao Gaojun(right) has worked with BV, one of the FSC accredited Certification Bodies, as an FSC auditor since 2012.

Zhao first heard of FSC in 2008 at a bamboo product forum. One business owner mentioned that his client demanded FSC certified products, which was new to everyone at the forum — no one had heard of the forest product certification before that.

Out of curiosity, Zhao went off to find out more about FSC, which later led him to a career at BV.

During his time as an FSC auditor, Zhao visited numerous villagers, forest workers, local governments and NGOs in and around various forests across the mainland China and Taiwan. “I enjoyed every journey, as each place had different forest landscapes, operations and local traditions,” said Zhao. He recalled the trip that impressed him most was going to a forest sample area located in a remote mountain in Guizhou province. “The car rides took two hours and we had to hike through the forests, going up and down for another two hours. I felt like getting a heat stroke,” he added. “We finally stopped at a village for a break, and a very nice old lady came and treated us with home-made ice tea and local snacks. Turns out she’s a friend of the company forest keeper because he always comes visit to collect feedback from the local communities about the forest operations.”

To this day Zhao still has a fond memory of the grannie and the forest keeper he met. “This is one of the important reasons why I enjoy doing FSC audits. I got opportunities to learn about different traditions at different places, share my understanding of FSC, and meet all walks of life including people like the grannie.”

Guizhou CTH (1)
Zhao had a fond memory visiting local villagers and communities in Guizhou

Zhao’s understanding of forest management and FSC has deepened along the years. “Although auditing sounds very technical, from my field experience, I’d give more consideration to the local social context and inputs from local stakeholders because it’s what’s on the ground and that’s what matters,” he empathizes. “It’s great to witness how most forest farms come to accept the concept of FSC responsible forestry throughout the years, as they realise how good forest management practices can balance economic, ecological and social benefits of the local communities.”

Zhao hopes that more and more consumers will become aware of FSC certified products. Just like he enjoys playing football and travel in forests, he also enjoys introducing FSC to his friends. To him each forest is unique, and each deserves our care and protection. From boreal forests and birch forests in northeast China to bamboo in the south, from moso bamboos in the southwest to the temperate forests in the middle, from eucalyptus plantations in Guangxi to the original forests in Taiwan—there have been so many places he has seen and yet to see. He hopes to help taking care of more of these forests.

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