NATIONAL FOREST CERTIFICATION SYSTEM SHOULD ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONCERNS
Representatives of independent environmental organizations, leading forest companies of the country and federal authorities discussed burning issues of voluntary forest certification in Russia at the round table "On voluntary certification in forest industry: basic goals and principles", held by the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations on November 14.
Representatives of the authorities strongly criticized the internationally recognized voluntary forest certification systems in Russia and decided to develop a new national forest certification scheme, which met a mixed reception among environmental experts and business representatives. WWF-Russia is concerned about the compliance of the future certification system with the environmental and social interests of the country.
"It is important to remember that the primary drivers for the development of voluntary forest certification are not the forest companies of the developed countries, but the retailers whose purchasing policy reflects the global environmental consumer preferences of the middle class. The world's largest retailers have been implementing the relevant requirements for suppliers and purchases for more than 10 years. It will not be possible to create a trusted certification system without including requirements for the conservation of intact forests, as this requirement is the most crucial part of the standards of all major trustworthy forest certification schemes in the world. It is equally important that the Federal Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources finally seriously address the real problems of the Russian forest sector specified in the "Principles of State Policy in the Use, Protection, and Reproduction of Forests in the Russian Federation until 2030", aimed at eliminating the extensive model of forest management providing for constant involvement of new forests into logging, which adversely affects the state of forests in Russia," says Evgeny Shvarts, WWF-Russia Director of Conservation Policy.
Today, WWF-Russia supports only a single system of voluntary forest certification, i.e. the certification scheme of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), which is based on the balance of economic, environmental and social interests, as it contributes to the prevention of degradation of forests and depletion of forest resources of our planet. The position of WWF-Russia regarding the FSC certification and the attitude to the initiative of establishing a new national system of certification was reported to deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, representatives of the Federal Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation at the hearings held on 14 November.