FSC launched a new campaign in early 2019 to promote broad engagement with its certification programme and help businesses align corporate strategies with sustainable development goals (SDGs). The campaign has a strong tropical timber theme to it, supported by STTC in 2018.
The ‘Together we are FSC’ campaign and marketing and promotion tool kit was outlined at the STTC Conference in Paris last year by FSC Europe Regional Director Anand Punja. He said that effective and well-meaning NGO campaigning to combat indiscriminate logging in rainforests had ‘turned people off tropical timber’. ‘Together we are FSC’ aims to develop equally impactful messaging, underlining the environmental, economic and social benefits of buying verified sustainable tropical timber ‘to turn people back on to it’. It also connects these benefits to the wider SDGs as a way to make the benefits more aligned to the international agenda and more accessible to a wider public.
The campaign website provides a range of stories and case studies business can use to explain and raise awareness of the livelihood, well-being and environmental impacts of sustainable forestry and timber production.
Designed in a consumer-style with high impact visuals and sound bite messaging, it is also clearly targeted at specifiers and the wider public. Each project described is also linked to a specific SDG, such as poverty eradication, education provision, achieving responsible consumption and production, climate action and combating loss of biodiversity and pollution .
The site includes profiles of two Gabon sawmill supplying certified timber. Not only does this incentivise local sustainable forestry, it says, it is committed to high welfare standards for workers, while the use of wood residues from milling are used to generate energy to power the plant.
Another section highlights the emphasis certification places on gender equality. “To overcome challenges in achieving gender equality in the forest sector, FSC standards require equality in employment practices, training opportunities, awarding of contracts, processes of engagement and management activities,” it says.
It also describes how FSC’s certification scheme help to bring social benefits such as education to children in tropical forests as part of the standards requirements in such places for those forest businesses that want to achieve certification and promote their product as an FSC certified product.
“Many certified forests, especially in the Southern hemisphere often include betters schools for the children of forest workers,” states FSC.
Certification, says the FSC, also helps achieve a range of other SDGS, including provision of clean water, improving health care and tackling hunger.
Communicating this connection can in turn drive uptake of certification, said Mr Punja.
“SDGS have increasingly become a policy guide for the world’s businesses and public authorities to show their purpose as an entity has wider benefits for society,” he said. “So they provide an excellent opportunity to communicate the wider positive benefits of verified sustainable/certified tropical timber trade to a sustainable production and consumption framework that is becoming increasingly widely adopted worldwide.”
If you are interested in using the materials or indeed have other ideas for the campaign then get in touch with Anand Punja, FSC European Director (firstname.lastname@example.org).