Legal Concepts and Policy Trends
Chapter 9: Forest certification schemes
Certification is a mechanism that seeks to implement sustainable forest management through the labelling of consumer products. Such systems are premised on the view that consumers will seek out forest products that are reputably certified.1 Consumer demand for sustainably harvested and produced forest products then creates a market demand for them. This, in turn, leads to the better management and use of global forest resources. The potential economic benefits of forest certification depend primarily upon certification programs being able to generate access to eco-sensitive markets that differentiate and favour certified forest products.2 Access to such eco-sensitive markets provides an economic incentive in the form of a premium price for certified timber. Certification schemes have been used to promote other social and environmental objectives (for example, fair trade and organic schemes). For certification schemes to flourish, there must be sufficient consumer demand, coupled with a willingness by consumers to pay any price premiums associated with the production of the item. Certification programs foster constructive discussions about forest governance and destructive logging practices by increasing awareness of sustainable management alternatives, and enhancing dialogue and cooperation among environmentalists, timber producers, buyers and governments.3
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