Industry has become increasingly engaged in sustainability certification, and the area of certified forest continues to grow. A number of retailers have made commitments to source certified timber and timber products, or have established supply chain controls to assure that products are sourced legally or sustainably. These trends have been prompted both by consumer demand and also by government legislation.
Legislative approaches have included the use of public procurement policies, these requiring the purchasing of only legal or sustainable timber. Furthermore, a number of countries have introduced legislation prohibiting imports of illegal timber, namely Australia, the EU and the US. In addition to legislative efforts, governments have also put significant resources (both in terms of finance and expertise) into initiatives to strengthen forest governance, including support for independent forest monitoring, legal reform, establishment of chain of custody systems, and training of personnel. Within Europe, this work has largely taken place under the umbrella of the FLEGT Action Plan.
There have also been a number of initiatives within the financial sector aimed at ensuring that investors are not supporting illegal practices, and in some cases, that they are actively promoting sustainable practices. For example, a growing number of investors are signatories to CDP’s forest program, which aims to improve corporate management of the risks associated with deforestation.