India joins PEFC’s Alliance
India, home to one of the largest forest areas in the world, has become the latest country to join the PEFC alliance as a National member. With Japan joining in 2014, and China and Indonesia achieving endorsement of their national systems the same year, the addition of India’s Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) shows momentum is gathering pace for promoting forest certification and sustainable forest management in the country.
“It is fantastic to see India become the fifth country in Asia to join us as a National member,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, as he welcomed NCCF into the PEFC alliance. “It is also PEFC’s 40th national member which is a real milestone for our organization”.
“With the country experiencing ever increasing demand for wood and wood products, the development of a national forest certification system in line with PEFC’s globally recognized Sustainability Benchmarks will not only help to support improved forest management, but also raise awareness with companies and consumers about the importance of sourcing and buying responsibly sourced wood products.”
“Forest certification will not only help impact India’s forest resources, but also assist in raising awareness of the advantages of responsibly sourced timber, which is especially important in a country with a rapidly growing middle class and demand for resources,” Mr. Gunneberg continued.
By becoming a PEFC member, NCCF has fulfilled an important prerequisite for applying for PEFC endorsement. Stakeholders in the country are now actively working on the development of an Indian forest certification system.
Mr. Krishna Kumar Singh, chairman NCCF has appreciated the commitment by government officials, industry stakeholders, civil society representatives and forest owners and managers to collaborate on moving this process forward, and said that we strongly believe that a future PEFC-endorsed Indian national forest certification system has great potential.
Further, Mr. Suneel Pandey, Secretary NCCF said that now that NCCF has been admitted to the PEFC National Governing Council, this enables us to represent PEFC in India in terms of business through forest certifications.
“We value the commitment received form Industry stakeholders, civil societies, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, NGOs, forest owners and managers, in taking the initiative forward and we encourage everybody interested to join, support and help us in firmly establishing a robust, transparent and internationally benchmarked forest certification system for the country,” Mr. A K Srivastava (formerly ADG, MoEFCC), Executive Director, NCCF concluded.