WWF and Stora Enso draw attention to social aspects of forest management
One of the primary components of the sustainable forest management is addressing the needs of local communities and holding relevant regarding the development of forest management plans and implementation of various forest management activities. In practice, this approach is executed through the voluntary forest certification under the Forest Stewardship Council® scheme, where forest users are required to meet the relevant requirements. They are mandatory for all FSC certificate holders.
The experts point out that it is not enough to declare the three main components of the sustainable forest management, i.e. environmental, economic and social, and to demand the maximum consideration of the interests of the local communities in certification. It is necessary to develop and implement procedures for interaction with the local communities, as well as to train employees of logging companies to clearly implement them. To this end, Stora Enso Forest Sector of Russia in cooperation with WWF-Russia held field workshop for Stora Enso certified suppliers on the implementation of the social requirements of the FSC-certification related to the interaction and consideration of the interests of local communities.
Stora Enso Forest Sector of Russia is the head of three groups of certified companies with the total area of FSC-certified forests exceeding 1.3 million hectares. The event was held at one of the certified companies, Ladenso, in Karelia.
‘The experience of Stora Enso is also useful for other FSC certificate holders and companies preparing for certification, especially due to the rapid adoption of the new Russian National FSC Standard. Today, there is one significant obstacle to the development of certification, i.e an extreme shortage of specialists in its social aspects and a growing number of certified companies and forest areas. It is necessary to train such specialists if we want forest users to fully address the social aspects and interests of local communities in certification. WWF-Russia has expertise of cooperating with environmental experts to improve their skills, and this expertise can be applied to training in the social sphere," says Alexander Voropaev, Forest and Trade project coordinator of WWF-Russia’s Forest Program.
In the framework of the workshop in the Republic of Karelia, leading Russian experts on social aspects of forest management trainings reported on the modeling and resolving various situations that arise when interacting with local communities. The representatives of the companies shared their own experience regarding the social aspects of the certification, and participated in public hearings in one of the settlements located near Ladenso lease area.
Since its inception, the voluntary forest certification scheme FSC has placed social requirements on a par with the environmental and economic ones. The experts note that this certification scheme is primarily developed due to its social component, i.e. addressing the needs of local communities, setting up and holding public hearings, consultations and negotiations, up to concluding informal and formal agreements. Special attention in the FSC standard is paid to the relations and interests of Indigenous peoples leading a traditional way of life that are often most susceptible to the impacts of forestry activities.
WWF-Russia supports the FSC certification as it helps prevent forest degradation and depletion of forest resources in our planet. Open discussion of the social aspects of the FSC certification involving all stakeholders will help improve compliance with the FSC requirements, increase confidence in the certification, and thus even more effectively conserve forests of high environmental and social value, encompassing the needs of all stakeholders.
Headline photo: (c) Julia Kalinicheva / WWF-Russia