The European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition was launched as an urgent response to the decline of the EU tropical timber market. But why ‘coalition’? Because its supporters see the whole supply chain having a role, responsibility and interest in reversing this downward trend, and believe market-wide effort is vital for success.
The alliance of public and private sector and NGO backers behind the STTC is concerned that EU tropical sector’s shrinkage could on one hand ultimately deprive specifiers, end users and consumers here of a technically high performance, diverse construction and manufacturing material. Critically, it could also disincentivise tropical suppliers from introducing sustainable forest management.
International recession exacerbated the situation, but the contraction of EU tropical timber sales has been long-term and due, it is widely agreed, to a number of embedded market factors. Image has been one problem. While often due to misperception, tropical timber has become popularly associated with illegal logging and deforestation. There has also been lack of market awareness of the availability of sustainably sourced timber from tropical forests.
So STTC sees its roles as:
To boost the EU market for sustainably sourced tropical timber by raising awareness of its availability; supporting private and public sector sustainable procurement initiatives; and highlighting tropical timber’s technical capabilities and the tropical forests’ environmental and development values, as outlined by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and the COP 21 Climate Change Conference.
To encourage the spread of SFM in tropical countries by; raising supplier awareness of SFM’s environmental, social, economic and development value; and convincing the tropical forest sector there is a viable, valuable, long-term EU market for sustainably sourced tropical timber.