The working group of a new trade initiative to develop the European market for lesser known timber species from the Congo Basin (LKTSCB) has held its first meeting.
The LKTSCB emerged from a business marketing summit in Libreville, Gabon, last summer, the FSC Congo Basin Business Encounter where the focus was on driving uptake of certified sustainable forest management across the region.
The LKTSCB was set up following the conclusion that a key factor in incentivising supplier countries to opt for certification is a growing market for the resulting certified timber. Creating demand for lesser known species in particular can make certification more economically viable.
The stated aim of the new European trade group, which is overseen by the FSC, is to introduce and promote selected lesser known species simultaneously in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the UK and Belgium. Attending its inaugural meeting in Utrecht in January were Ewa Bazydlo of Lathams in the UK, Emmanuel Groutel of Wale/CBG in France, Gijs Burgman of Wijma and Jan Kemps of Hotim Veteka both in the Netherlands, Klaus Schmidt of Cross Trade in Germany, Dirk Debussche of Vandecasteele in Belgium and Kristian Jorgensen of FSC Denmark. Co-ordinating was Ben Romein of FSC Netherlands.
Delegates presented strategic views on prospects for LKTS in their respective markets and a common promotional approach. They also discussed species selection and who should take various roles in the initiative. They also addressed budget and promotion and marketing issues, with support to be provided by the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT).
They identified seven Congo region species related and market areas to target; Alep, Amouc, Andoung, Eveuss, Eyoum, Gombé, Movingui, Olon and Ozigo. These varieties will be
further evaluated by the working group and once approved, the introductory phase will start and a promotional programme and timetable developed.