In late November, FSC Vietnam and WWF co-organised a campaign to run two booths at the VIFA-HOME Vietnam Furniture and Interior Fair 2019 in Ho Chi Minh City. The twin booths provided information to visitors about how and why using FSC products helps protect forests in Vietnam and around Asia Pacific, and contributes to the manufacture of responsible forest products.
Running from 28 November to 1 December, the VIFA-HOME show welcomed many visitors from Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding area. Their reasons for being there were diverse: some were consumers seeking to buy furniture to decorate their homes; others were investors, looking for furniture for restaurant, hotel, resort or public procurement projects. Then there were commercial customers looking for business development opportunities: distributors, agents, retailers from around the region as well as consultants, stylists, bloggers and media representatives.
Our goal was to connect with all these visitors and explain to them FSC’s values and our mission to protect forests, increase community income and enhance branding. The booths did this in several ways: showing them how the FSC value chain works, taking them through the journey from forest to forest products, explaining the various FSC product labels to them and even having them play a “plant the forest” mini game – helping them understand where FSC products come from and the meaning of the FSC logo.
During the fair’s four days, we also welcomed about 200 visitors government officials from VNFOREST, along with designers, representatives from companies interested in FSC products, a teacher who wanted to pass our messages to his students, as well as people who had never heard of FSC, but who were eager to learn how FSC contributes to responsible forest management and responsible forest products.
Significantly, several productive talks and meetings were held during the fair, with about 50 representatives from companies in various industries discussing the FSC value proposition of sustainability, learning how to source responsible forest products, and the challenges and opportunities presented by responsible sourcing.
Best of all, numerous participants committed to choosing forest-based materials to replace single-use plastics and expressed their desire to use FSC products as a way of acting responsibly in terms of forests and the wider environment. Many hoped there will be more learning and networking opportunities that will let them create links with FSC in the future, like Mr Nguyen Thanh Ky, General Director of S Furniture, who expressed a wish that “information sessions and dialogue sessions could be organised more often at such fairs, so we can learn [about] FSC and FSC initiatives to engage with innovative forest management solutions.”
FSC Vietnam looks forward to taking part in more fairs like this in 2020 and beyond.