Forests and FSC in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific is covered by 740 million hectares of forests, accounting for 18 per cent of global forest cover. Southeast Asia holds the third-largest forest area in the world as well as countless sites rich in biodiversity.

Forests in Asia Pacific are also a lifeline for millions of people in the region, and are the main contributor to national wealth in several nations, with an estimated annual value of trade in primary forest products that exceeds US$90 billion. However a number of factors, including 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 accelerated deforestation and forest degradation across the region.

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

FSC Asia Pacific – an overview

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

Matching sustainable forest product demand and supply

As the world’s most populated region and home to the fastest-growing economies in the world, it is crucial for development in Asia Pacific to move in a sustainable direction.

For the past nine years, FSC Asia Pacific has been working on increasing market demand and encouraging a matching level of supply from within and outside of our region.

Our work is creating lasting impacts – from multi-billion dollar businesses committing to only source socially and environmentally responsible FSC materials and products, to 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 of directors, governments and more to help facilitate and unleash the enormous market potential of sustainable forestry.

The number of businesses receiving our Chain of Custody (CoC) certificates has been growing steadily Asia Pacific, with China having more than 4,000 certificates – the highest number of any country in the world.

We actively engage in dialogue on up-and-coming forest product trade initiatives in the region, such as using viscose for fabrics and clothing and natural rubber. We also continue to support smallholders as they seek to gain better access to green and ethical markets.

Importantly, FSC is actively driving market solutions in the growing area of ecosystem services – where the responsible management of carbon, water, biodiversity and recreational assets is rewarded, and the potential for additional revenue created to further drive incentives for responsible forest management.

Highlights of FSC in Asia Pacific

Success on the global market

  • TetraPak, a global food packaging company, delivered more than 200 billion FSC-labelled packages in 2016, a significant milestone. The company also works with FSC to promote responsible sourcing of forest products and raising awareness of FSC’s vision and mission
  • 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.
  • The LEGO Group is committed to using only FSC certified paper
  • IKEA has a long-term goal to source all wood for IKEA products from certified and responsibly-managed forests and it recognises and supports FSC as the top forest certification standard.

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-profit organisations that support us. Importantly, the scale and diversity of multinational, national and retail businesses that actively use FSC products and materials are key indicators 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 in how certification is awarded and maintained. To maintain FSC certification, companies are audited by their certification bodies at least once a year and receive spot checks by the independent accreditation body Accreditation Services International (ASI) – an organisation 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 a Certificate Holder, a Certification Body, or FSC itself**.

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