New EU group to promote sustainable tropical timber
An organisation aiming to ensure tropical timber is used sustainably across the European Union will be launched next month.
The EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC) will start operations from November 6. The organisation will be launched in Amsterdam and is being driven by the Dutch government and sustainable trade group IDH. The group will be headed by Hans Stout, the former managing director of Precious Woods and ex-president of Precious Woods Brazil. It has brought the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT), the FSC, PEFC and the European Timber Trade Federation on board as partners.
The group says it is needed because previous international efforts to prevent deforestation, including certification schemes that have run for two decades and frequent efforts to stamp out illegal loggers, have not stopped the practice. It said that 290 million hectares of tropical forest have disappeared in the last 20 years and just six per cent of forest areas have been certified.
The STTC has set a new target to bring around 10 million hectares of rainforest into sustainable management in the next two years.
The group said: “Tropical timber is a high risk product and there is an urgent need for action. The EU market can influence forest management in the tropics if private, public and civil society players join forces.”
National governments and public and private sector organisations will be encouraged to become STTC members. Its efforts will focus on promoting the use of licensed and certified tropical timber across the EU. STTC plans to do this by making a better case for the use of sustainably sourced wood and tackling the declining use of tropical timber in major EU economies.
Organisations which join the group will be offered technical support and help to promote the use of sustainable tropical woods in their own countries.