A quarter of Indonesian forest set for certification

With its support, The Borneo Initiative (TBI) expects Indonesia to have achieved FSC® certification of 25% of its actively managed forests by the end of 2017.

That, says the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC), will not just be a major achievement in itself. It will also spell a significant increase in availability of certified material for traders in Europe and worldwide to promote and sell to the marketplace, to the benefit of the forests and the certified tropical timber sector as a whole.

The Borneo Initiative is a not-for-profit launched in 2008 by Netherlands-based IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and other donors. Its aim is to “ensure supply of legal and sustainable material is not the missing link in sustainably sourced tropical timber chain”, complementing STTC’s goal of raising awareness of the availability and potential of that timber in the marketplace.

Besides making steady progress in the implementation of its SVLK Timber Legality Assurance Scheme in recent years, Indonesia has already made significant advances in FSC certification.  Currently 20, or one in seven, of its natural forest concessions (covering 2.1 million ha), are fully certified, while three (260,000 ha) have FSC controlled wood certification.

The Borneo Initiative aims to add impetus to the process and has already facilitated most of the FSC certification projects so far. It awards grants to concessions for principal certification costs; including chain of custody and reduced impact logging training, social impact   and high conservation value assessments. Funding also covers the cost of FSC audits and certification coaches, a role performed by GFTN, TNC, TFF,  or Wana Aksara.

FSC-certification is not only seen by the Indonesian forest companies as a route for achieving sustainable forest management, but also for accessing overseas markets. The Borneo Initiative supports this ambition too, participating in trade events under the banner; “Indonesian hardwood products: Sustainable. Quality. Guaranteed”.  It also sets up market links and trade encounters with potential customers, an area where it now works with the STTC and where both see their informal collaboration as mutually beneficial.

Overall The Borneo Initiative supports 39 concessions; 38 in Indonesia and one in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In the former to date it has facilitated 16 FSC certificates covering 1.6 million ha of forest and three controlled wood certificates covering 260,000 ha. The PNG concession is managing 148,900 ha.

“We also support forest concessions on Papua and the Moluccas, and we aim to extend our support across the border as well, into Sarawak and Sabah,” said The Borneo Initiative’s Programme Director Wim Ellenbroek. “In addition, we are supporting two Sulawesi plantation forests to FSC certification to see if we can also undertake this work with plantations.”

Given more funding, The Borneo Initiative believes the Borneo forest sector, with its support, can go even further than its 2017 goal and increase the FSC-certified area to 6 million ha, with some of it potentially in Malaysian-Borneo.