STTC Conference examines sustainable tropical timber’s role in green recovery

The focus of the online 2020 Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition’s Conference on November 19 will be the need to seize the opportunity of post-pandemic reconstruction to establish a greener economic model.  

Specifically, the Conference will examine how driving the uptake of certified sustainable tropical forest management by growing the market for sustainable tropical timber can and must be part of the process of green recovery and building a circular bioeconomy. The title of the event is ‘Holding the line: roots for green recovery’.

The circular bioeconomy will be a core theme and the subject of presentations and panel discussion. Speakers will address how the model works, its goals and the place of the timber sector, notably the tropical timber sector, in a bioeconomic future. They include Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Water and Forestry, who is responsible for implementing the government ruling that all forest concessions in the country must be certified sustainable by 2022. And Hugo Schally, Head of Sustainable production, products and consumption, DG Environment who is coordinating and developing the European Commission’s work on the links between trade and environment as well as on deforestation and forest degradation.

Also speaking is circular bioeconomy expert Jeroen Nagel of the Netherlands infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat. Joining them on the panel will be John Williams of environmental science, research, engineering and technical solutions provider RSK and Maria Smith, Director of sustainability and physics at Buro Happold.

The Conference will also explore how the tropical timber sector has tackled the Covid- 19 challenge on the ground. There will be input from INTERHOLCO, which manages over 1 million ha of certified forest in the Republic of the Congo (RoC), and Belgian-based international timber trader Vandecasteele Houtimport. Tropical timber companies have been highly proactive in implementing Covid-19 prevention and treatment strategies, with another RoC-based operation commenting that the pandemic had ‘underlined the importance of investing in health as part of sustainable ecosystem management’.

Following a break and networking, the subject will be innovation in forest and chain of custody certification and its importance for bioeconomic development. Speakers will include Iwan Kurniawan of The Borneo Initiative and Liesbeth Gort of FSC Netherlands.

The role of the STTC itself going forward in supporting certified sustainable tropical timber market growth will be addressed by Chih-Ching Lan of IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative.

Closing, Lee White will issue a ‘call for action’, urging the sustainable tropical timber sector to play its part and maximise its opportunities for development as the world moves to a new bioeconomic model.

Targeted at a broad audience, from STTC partners and participants, through timber traders and federations, to concession holders, NGOs and policy makers, the Conference will be moderated by Peter Woodward. The platform opens on November 19 at 8.30 a.m. CET and the event will close around 1 p.m. To register click here.