Forests and FSC in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific is covered by 740 million hectares of forests, accounting for 18% of global forest cover, where Southeast Asia contain the third largest forests area in the world and scores of rich biodiversity sites.

The forest in Asia Pacific is also the lifeline for millions of people in the region, as well as the main contributor to national wealth, with an estimated annual value of trade in primary forest products that exceeds US$90 billion. However, the increasing demand for forest resources, clearing for agriculture, unsustainable logging, impacts of climate change and forest fires linked to farming, plantation and palm oil development, have all accelerated deforestation and forest degradation across the region.

Sustainable and responsible forest management is desperately needed to turn the tide.

FSC Asia Pacific—An Overview

FSC has been active in the region since the early 2000’s with the Asia Pacific Regional office established in 2011 to accelerate our mission to balance environmental, social and economic interests and drive responsible forest stewardship. We have one regional office, and four national offices in China, Australia, Malaysia, and Japan, and representatives in India, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Thailand and Viet Nam (Greater Mekong). With our nearly 10,000 certified businesses, key retailers, diverse membership and NGO partners, including WWF, The Borneo Initiative, RECOFTC, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Sustainability (Malaysia), we maintain a strong foothold across Asia Pacific.

Matching Market Demand and Supplies for Sustainable Forest Products

As the world’s most populated region and the fastest growing economies in the world, it is crucial for the region to move in a sustainable direction down the road of development.

Throughout the years, we have been working on increasing market demand and encouraging supplies that match within and outside of our region.

We are glad to see the impacts we continue to bring, from multi-billion dollar businesses committing to only source socially and environmentally responsible FSC materials and products, institutional investors providing assurance to their global funders that through FSC their forestry assets are managed to a world class standard, to local community forests gaining access to global multinationals and supply chains through FSC group certification.

These successes continue to reinforce that FSC, as a globally consistent voluntary certification scheme, can help provide high level assurance to community organisations, investors, Boards, Government… and help facilitate and unleash huge market potentials.

On top of that, the number of certified business identified through our Chain of Custody (CoC) certificates has been growing steadily across the region, with China alone having more than 4,000 certificates — the highest among all countries.

We actively engage in dialogue on the up-and-coming forest product trade in the region, such as viscose for fabrics and clothing and natural rubber. We also continue to support smallholders with better access to green and ethical markets.  Importantly, FSC is actively driving market solutions around the growing area of ecosystem services where responsible management of carbon, water, biodiversity and recreational assets can be rewarded and the potential for additional revenue created to further drive incentives for responsible forest management.

Highlights of FSC in the APAC region

More Global Market Success

  • TetraPak, a global food packaging company, delivered more than 200 billion of FSC-labelled packages in 2016, which is a significant milestone. The company also works with FSC to promote responsible sourcing of forest products and raising awareness of what FSC stands for
  • Kimberly-Clark prefers FSC when it comes to sourcing sustainable forest products. FSC has been partnering with the company for more than a decade to use consumer power to end deforestation and safeguard forest ecosystems
  • LEGO group commits to using only FSC certified paper
  • IKEA has a long-term goal to source all wood for IKEA products from certified responsibly-managed forests and it only recognizes and supports FSC as the forest certification standard

Introducing Best Practices of Forest Management – National Forest Stewardship Standards(NFSS)

To allow industry players to adopt practical, actionable responsible forest management practices so they can fulfil the growing market demand for certified forest products, FSC has been developing National Forest Stewardship Standards (NFSS) for individual countries based on our globally consistent International Principles and Criteria (P&C) in the region.

FSC standards are developed through a collaborative and consultative process, owned and managed by six to nine in-country representatives with economic, social and environmental perspectives. These individuals form the countries standards development group (SDG) and ensure FSC global consistent principles and criteria are enacted through country specific and relevant indicators and verifiers. These indicators and verifiers ensure bottom up and grassroots input at a country level whilst maintaining globally consistent standards. FSC is the most advanced certification system in the world that ensures local relevant but globally consistent forest management standards.

Currently,there are a total of 11 Standard Development Groups (SDGs)* in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, China(Chinese only), India, Indonesia, Japan(Japanese only), Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan and Viet Nam, and with Thailand and Laos at the preparation stage of forming the SDGs. Among them, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand have their National Forest Standards in place, while Indonesia has the National Standard for natural plantation and small or low-intensity managed forest (SLIMFs), and China has their National Standard conditionally approved.(Before a countries’ National Standard is in place, interim standards provide the vehicle for forest managers to enter the FSC system and join ethical and responsible forest trade.)

*What is a Standard Development Group? 
Standard Development Groups are responsible for 
national standards development.The groups comprise a 
balance of renowned national experts (social, environmental and economic), 
and are supported by FSC staff members, to ensure that 
FSC’s global standards are not only internationally consistent 
but also suitable for and relevant to the local context.

Find out how you can get involved, contact the FSC APAC staff or your local FSC representatives.

Ensuring our integrity

FSC is a trust mark. The assurance we provide comes both from our internationally consistent set of Forest Management Standards and the array of global social and environmental not for profits that support us. Importantly, the scale and diversity of multi-national, national and retail businesses that actively use FSC products and materials is a key indicator of the trust that is placed in FSC’s global certification system.

Trust in FSC’s systems is founded not just in how standards are collaboratively set, but how certification is both awarded and maintained. To maintain FSC certification, companies will be audited by their certification bodies at least once a year and will receive spot check by independent accreditation body Accreditation Services International (ASI) – the organization that offers international accreditation to certification bodies wishing to audit against voluntary sustainability standards around the world.

how auditing works

We also have an established Dispute Resolution System, which supports stakeholders to express concerns they may have with the operation of the FSC system and to find the best way of resolving disputes, be it a complaint against Certificate Holder, Certification Body, or FSC itself**.

** Please note that any complaint about certified organizations 
which has not been referred to the relevant certification body for 
resolution will be directed to the Certification Body and not handled by FSC.