4 October, 2016
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Africa journey
we come from.
FSC certification in Africa started in
South Africa in 1997, when timber plantations in South Africa were first
certified. At the time, the process was managed from the FSC International
headquarters in Bonn, Germany. Over time, Africa was recognized as a key area
for FSC certification.
Many communities in the region still depend
on forests to meet their basic needs. Additionally, certification is needed to
not only address issues such as illegal timber and deforestation, but also to responsibly
manage large and important tropical forest areas. Part of the strategy for
conserving critical natural forests includes utilising well managed
plantations, such as the plantations in South Africa, to meet consumer demand.
The FSC Africa team has grown from 1 to 8
staff members in only 3 years. Each member of the team brings unique and
valuable experience and perspectives to create a better experience for
certificate holders and members in the region, and to increase FSC's presence
in Africa. We now have a presence in a number of countries in East Africa,
southern Africa and the Congo Basin. Going forward, we will explore
opportunities to establish a presence in West Africa. In addition to expanding
our presence, we will encourage and facilitate ongoing roundtable dialogues. A
number of these discussions have already taken place in countries including
Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. These dialogues are essential to the process
of making the FSC system locally relevant.
In East and southern Africa, the number of
smallholders presents unique opportunities for new strategies to develop
smallholder-inclusive solutions. The recognition of this opportunity resulted
in the recruitment of an experienced project manager with an emphasis on
smallholder solutions. Additionally, the prevalence of plantations in South
Africa and the related opportunities prompted the employment of a regional
coordinator for southern Africa.
we are going.
The FSC Africa strategy is aligned with the
FSC International strategy, which includes the empowerment of smallholders,
increasing the market value of FSC, and developing new solutions. In Africa, we
have a 2020 vision:
Increase our presence by
expanding into new countries within the three sub-regions and expand into West
Doubling the certification in
The empowerment of smallholders
and other under-represented groups; and
Increasing the recognition of
the FSC brand in the marketplace.
Despite challenges such as lack of
recognition of the brand and its importance, there are many opportunities in
the region. Corporate social responsibility is growing as an integral business
practice across the continent. The African Restoration Initiative has committed
to the restoration of 100 million hectares of deforested land by 2030. Africa
has an important stakeholder base including indigenous groups and other
Africa now has representation on working
groups and technical committees encompassing various issues such as Intact
Forest Landscapes, Minimum Wage, the Policy and Standards Committee and the
Pesticides Working Group.
Our success depends on far more than just
the FSC staff. As a membership organisation, our members play a vital role in determining
policies, standards and the strategy for FSC going forward. Certificate holders
are also important role-players who represent the embodiment of our standards
in their daily business operations. They have the opportunity to engage on
relevant topics and themes, and to contribute to solutions which will assist in
achieving the 2020 vision.
On 30 September, FSC Africa celebrated FSC
Friday in partnership with Mondi South Africa by launching a guerrilla
awareness campaign in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Large printed cardboard trees
lined 4th Avenue for the day, drawing attention to the FSC logo and
what it represents.
More of these initiatives are planned in
future to raise awareness amongst consumers and encourage responsible
Source: FSC Africa