Harnessing SDG’s to promote sustainable tropical timber

Together we are FSC

Worldwide business, government and other entities are looking to demonstrate their environmental commitment by aligning corporate social responsibility,  purchasing and other policy with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of FSC’s new STTC-backed project- ‘Together we are FSC’, to be launched fully in 2019- is to harness this trend and better illustrate the wider benefits of certified tropical timber to help drive procurement and use of verified  sustainable tropical timber.

“The backdrop to the initiative”, said FSC’s European Regional Director Anand Punja at the STTC Annual Conference, “is that worthy and impactful NGO campaigns, with the goal of combating large scale, indiscriminate logging in rainforests, had the consequence of  turning people away from buying tropical timber, despite the fact that numerous studies show the positive societal benefits that the verified sustainable certified timber trade brings to tropical forests and the local communities living within them” he said. “FSC research showed there was a gap in communicating the positive social and environmental impacts of purchasing certified tropical timber to boost demand”

This, added Mr Punja, is where the link to the SDGs come in.

“Since their adoption in 2016, the SDGs have increasingly become an important guide for the world’s businesses and public authorities to show their purpose as an entity that has wider benefits for society,” he said. “So they provide an excellent opportunity to communicate the wider positive benefits of using certified tropical timber in a way that is becoming increasingly widely accepted and utilised worldwide.”

To this end the STTC-backed FSC project will be rolled out as a campaign in 2019 to market FSC certified tropical timber, targeted at purchases and consumers. During its conception phase, the project:

  • Analysed various studies (public and internal FSC reports) demonstrating the positive benefits of the sustainable tropical timber trade and map these to the SDGs;
  • Developed engaging and compelling messaging about the benefits of the verified sustainable tropical trade in ‘SDG terms’;
  • Developed a marketing and communication toolkit with creative assets for FSC Trademark licence holders (i.e. timber) to use under the banner of ‘Together we are FSC’;
  • Marketing assets include; video’s, social media posts, posters and other promotional materials.

This project, said Mr Punja, is one of the actions to support delivery of Strategy 2 of the FSC Global Strategic Plan; to increase the market value of FSC, especially for its business stakeholders.