Curbing Illegal Wood Supply For Domestic Needs !
The industries that depend on wood are -due to the unsustainable forestry practices - being pressurized to both secure supply and avoid adverse environmental and social impacts. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) project model ‘Living Forests’ anticipates the ‘annual wood removals’ in the year 2050 to be three times the volume reported for 2010.
For Indian manufacturers, responsible timber sourcing will be crucial to securing long-term supply.Owing to thelack of domestic supply and increasing domestic consumption, log imports in India have doubled since 2006, and the demand for softwood log imports is expected to triple by 2021.Industrial round wood used in construction, as well as veneer and plywood for furniture, fixtures and flooring are major drivers of this demand.
Illegal Wood Supply
India is the second largest importer of tropical round wood and a large majority of India’s wood imports are from forest-rich tropical countries in the South-East Asian region, which is home to species like tigers, elephants, and rhinos. So India’s wood imports carry a crucial impact on forests and the species.
Also forests play a pivotal role in mitigating climate change. According to a report, forests have been reported to absorb as much as 30% of annual global CO2 emissions. Whereas the WWF report reveals that ‘Ecosystems in the Greater Mekong’, between 1973 and 2009, the five countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam lost almost one-third of their forests for timber and to clear land for agriculture.
It is a challenge for Indian companies to measure and manage their impact in such eco-sensitive regions. To establish a credibly certified supply chain, stop the imports of illegal wood and ensure high value market, a strategic approach is put into practise.
Steps Taken to Curb Illegal Wood Supply Chain
Many public and private initiatives have been introduced like Lacey Act in the US and FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) and EUTR (EU Timber Regulation) in the European Union to drive greater legality and transparency in global forestry supply chains.A burning example is Ikea’s obligation to become “forest-positive” by 2020.
Some Indian companies have also started understanding and managing risks in their supply chains by understanding where timber suppliesare growing, identifying potential “unwanted” sources linked to deforestation risks, establishing measurable targets to achieve certified supply chains, establishing strategic relationships with producers to improve performance and improving responsible supply chain.