World Standards Day or International Standards Day is celebrated internationally each year on 14 October, this year’s theme is ‘Save Planet through Standards’. The day honours the efforts of the thousands of experts who develop voluntary standards within standards development organizations.

In India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, is actively promoting standards and conformity assessment, through the Indian National Strategy for Standardization (INSS), a platform for the government, industry and civil society to take maximum advantage of sustainability and quality and capacity standards developed by the private agencies.

The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), a civil society, comprising Indian experts, professionals and stakeholders, is actively engaged in development of globally acceptable sustainability certification standards for natural resources taking into account needs and specificities of India. It is a not for profit organization of India, is actively engaged in diverse conservation activities including, development of globally benchmarked and India specific sustainability certification standards for various constituents of our natural resource base, as its core working area.

NCCF, has developed India specific scheme for forest certification through a multi stakeholder standard development group and fully conforming to the international best practices for standard development. This robust scheme has been endorsed by the PEFC giving it an international recognition. In India, nearly 85% supply of industrial wood based raw material comes from Trees outside Forests (ToF). Therefore, we have also developed Trees outside Forests (ToF) Certification Scheme, the first of its kind in the world. Both these schemes have the potential to bring much-needed recognition to the wood based industries including the timber produced by farmers on their lands and ensure better markets and price premium for their agroforestry produce.

With country’s thrust on conservation of natural forests, the area for felling and timber extraction may not substantially increase for the time being and ToF will continue to meet our major requirements of wood fibre of the country, especially the pulp and paper, plywood and composite products, handicrafts and furniture industry. Large scale adoption of certification will certainly contribute to Hon’ble Prime Minister’s resolve to doubling the farmers’ income and facilitate implementation of ‘Make in India Programme’ and ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’

NCCF is also developing standards for Non wood forest products, Protected Areas and Wetlands, Ecotourism, Quality planting Materials, Biofuel and Biomass and Land Degradation Neutrality and also a Carbon-Registry-India for voluntary carbon market.

These standards offer huge potential to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, accelerate outcomes of SDG’s, climate resilience, land restoration and biodiversity conservation while ensuring community rights, livelihoods, health and labour welfare, forest rights, traceability, quality, value chains and export promotion. Also, help the country in increasing manufacturing of certified wood products and boost environmentally conscious consumerism in the domestic market.