Sustainability and traceability are two of the most important issues facing the timber industry today. Global consumers are increasingly demanding products that can be accurately traced to their original source and are extracted safely and responsibly, without damaging the ecosystem. Now, global timber companies and international forestry stakeholders have come together to form a new organization that will help oversee the sustainable production and export of timber products worldwide.
The Global Green Supply Chain (GGSC) Network represents a major step for the global forestry industry. Facing mounting concerns over environmental challenges, industry leaders have come together to restore the public’s confidence in forestry through initiatives and agreements to promote sustainability and responsible forestry.
The International Tropical Timber Organization took a leading role in the founding of the GGSC Network, pledging to work towards “a collaborative network of global green supply chains to promote the sustainable development of forest industries and contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of global forest resources”. The organization received support from a diverse range of timber stakeholders including government bodies from China, Japan, and various countries in Europe.
“The industry faces many challenges in the global adoption of green timber supply chains,” said Zhu Guangquan of the China Timber and Wood Products Distribution Association. “It requires a spirit of partnership throughout the industry and, ultimately, all actors will benefit.”
Worldwide consumer perception of the forestry industry has been generally unfavorable, a trend which the GGSC Network intends to combat. Improving the reputation of the timber industry can be largely accomplished by promoting reforestation initiatives and eliminating illegal practices, according to the organization’s founding documents. The members intend to establish open dialogue and improve transparency, which will build the trust needed to tackle the problem of illegally sourced timber.
The formation of the GGSC Network is a much-needed step for the global timber industry. With worldwide demand for wood products expected to triple by 2050, the leaders of industry must take steps to ensure that timber is sourced legally and in accordance with international sustainability regulations and certifications.
In order to preserve forests, they must continue to be a profitable renewable resource that consumers can trust, say the organizations key members. John Leigh, Chair of the International Tropical Timber Council, claimed that “to minimize the risk of losing the forests, it is imperative that they generate substantive economic benefits for income, jobs, livelihoods and development in general. This is why we need green supply chains to ensure stable supplies—domestically and internationally—of legal and sustainable timber from sustainably managed forests.”
Due to their ability to sequester the excess carbon produced by the large-scale burning of fossil fuels, the world’s forests are an invaluable weapon in the fight against global climate change. However, consumers tend to have a negative view of the forestry industry as a whole. The Global Green Supply Chain Network will improve connectivity and integration within the industry, fight illegal forestry practices, and help bring sustainable, traceable wood products to the world.