Day 1 - Wednesday, 3 August 2016    15.45 - 17.15   

Inclusive forest industries for a green economy

Forests hold a range of values for ecosystem services, industries and livelihoods. They support biodiversity, supply food, water, timber and other forest products, and help regulate the climate. Industries such as pulp and paper, plywood and furniture continue to attract investment, with furniture being the most labor-intensive. Forest-dependent industries like these generate billions of dollars in profits, provide employment for millions and contribute to the wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities.

The huge contribution of forestry industries to economies and livelihoods is clear. But it often comes at the expense of the other values offered by forests. Millions of hectares of natural forests are depleted annually by industries. Questions remain: How can sustainability become a competitive advantage in the future of the forest industry in the Asia-Pacific? Are forest certification and legality assurance the only tools to achieve sustainability? How can we deal with small and informal sectors? How can the market provide greater demand and more incentives for sustainable forest products and services?

Shifting to a green economy addresses many of the challenges associated with balancing the value of natural capital with the needs of a developing economy. This shift, however, will involve restructuring ‘who gets what’ from the former economy throughout the value chain, from managing and growing forests to logging, processing, manufacturing, marketing and recycling. Change will likely be supported or rejected by various stakeholders based on who benefits – unless we can demonstrate that a green economy benefits all. So where is the evidence?

This session applied theoretical knowledge to on-the-ground practices and perspectives on sustainable forestry industries at both small and large scales in the Asia-Pacific region. The session covered the following topics:

  • Domestic, regional and global market niches for sustainable forest products;
  • ‘Who gets what’ from a shift from unsustainable to sustainable forest industries along the value chains;
  • Measurable practices and evidence for the benefits of a green economy at various scales;
  • Improving the role of forest certification and legality assurance for small-scale and informal sectors to boost a green economy;
  • Policies, institutions and governance to incentivize sustainable forest management and industries.

Background reading