Suriname mission highlights certified trade potential

Seventeen European importers from six countries participated in an ETTF-backed trade mission to Suriname where they learned about the opportunities and challenges for developing the country’s sustainable timber export sector.

The visit late last year, was co-initiated by Probos and Suriname based Environmental Services and Support organisation and backed by the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC). The aim was also to put European businesses in touch with possible Suriname FSC-certified trading partners.
Participants additionally learned about a.o. the role of the Surinamese Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control (SBB) in monitoring and law enforcement.
More than 400,000ha of Suriname’s forest have been FSC certified in recent years, supported by the Guiana Shield Tropical Timber Program and Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).  A further 43,000 ha are certified to FSC controlled wood standard.
Since 2010, Suriname’s industrial roundwood harvest has also nearly doubled to 493,000m3, with Europe accounting for 38% of its 21,000m3 of sawnwood exports last year.
To make the most of the Suriname forest sustainably the message was that the trade has to accept more of its 1000 species – in fact a project is underway to introduce lesser-known varieties into Europe. Backed by FSC-certified companies in Suriname, the ETTF, Probos Tropenbos Suriname and STTC, this is starting with a pilot to assess availability and performance.
Mark van Benthem Senior Advisor at Probos, who accompanied the visit, said all participants were ‘excited’ at the possibilities presented.
“Such a mission is worth repeating,” he said.