The European timber sector has focused on both ensuring its sources of supply are legal and on growing market share for verified sustainable tropical wood. The Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition 2019 Conference looks at how these dual efforts can interrelate to increase verified sustainable timber supply and demand and how STTC tools can support the process.
The event is titled ‘Exploring pathways to verified sustainable tropical timber’ and is being held in Berlin the day before the International Hardwood Conference. It will cover a range of themes around its core topic, including how verified sustainable forest management can build on regional and national initiatives, such as the EU FLEGT VPA programme and Verified Sourcing Areas.
Taking place on November 20, the Conference is set against the backdrop that, while, encouragingly, the EU market share of verified sustainable tropical timber is growing, total tropical timber sales continue to fall.
“It’s a very real concern that this shrinkage in demand in such an environmentally sensitive marketplace could ultimately disincentivise suppliers in tropical countries from introducing sustainable forest management practice,” said Nienke Sleurink of the STTC. “Ensuring viable, growing demand for the end product is one of the essential underpinnings to the continuing spread of forest sustainability verification. We must make the market connection.”
Expert speakers from across the European trade, NGOs, and the wider rainforest commodity sector will address the core issues related to these themes.
Topics covered will include how information, data and technical support from the STTC and tools from the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT), including its Fair & Precious certified timber branding campaign, can contribute to reversing Europe’s tropical timber sales decline. There will also be presentations on promotional policies and sales materials for tropical timber followed by a panel discussion and audience workshop titled ‘Making it work’.
The afternoon conference session will centre around ‘The road from EUTR to verified sustainable’. It will focus on the complementary, but distinctive roles of legality and sustainability verification and how one should ultimately lead to the other. A presentation of latest data on sustainable tropical timber market share will open discussions, followed by a look at the impact of certification on the wider landscape.
The audience will also hear about lessons learned in the Matto Grosso beef sector about use of Verified Sourcing Areas, designed to drive sustainability across whole regions, and speakers will present a position paper on the relationship between the EUTR, the EU FLEGT initiative and certification. Delegates will have a further opportunity to engage with the issues and discuss topics raised in a series of table talk sessions, motivated and moderated by popular long-term STTC conference facilitator Peter Woodward.
STTC conferences historically attract a capacity audience, drawn from Europe-wide and beyond. This year’s event promises to be as popular as ever, especially as it takes place just before the International Hardwood Conference at the same venue, enabling delegates to attend both. So early booking is advised.