This year, the 8th Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) General Assembly 2017 will take place in Vancouver, Canada, from 8-13 October. Taking place every three years, the General Assembly is a critical platform to allow members to discuss the challenges and solutions of responsible forest management, and the role the FSC can play.

The FSC currently certifies a total area of almost 200 million hectares across 84 countries, but only 13% (around 18 million hectares) is tropical and subtropical forest, while only 7% is natural forest, as opposed to plantations. Though the area of certified tropical forests grew by some 50% between 2007 and 2013, there is still a long way to go to protect these critical ecosystems. 

With tropical forest areas increasingly under threat, responsible management of remaining tropical forest landscape is essential. FSC certification – through the creation of more sustainable tropical timber and pulp markets – allows businesses and consumers to support tropical countries in ending deforestation.

The General Assembly’s Tropical Forest side event – on Monday 9 October, 4:30-6pm – will focus on the impacts of FSC certification in the tropics, with a case study from Precious Woods, a timber producer with operations in Brazil and Gabon, and an insight into market access for tropical forest smallholders in Mexico.

During this event I will also present an overview of our forthcoming SPOTT assessments of timber and pulp companies operating in critical tropical forest landscapes. SPOTT promotes transparency and accountability to support environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practice.

If you have registered for the FSC General Assembly, please join us on Monday 9 October, 4:30-6pm in Room SPB2, Westin Bayshore Hotel.