Apart from delegates of government authorities and research institutes, as one of the world's largest pulp and paper producers, APP-China was an important participant in the event as a staunch advocate of forest certification, being joined by more than 100 top sourcing and sustainability professionals from over ten industries, including wood and paper product manufacturers, printers and consumer enterprises. Attendees enthusiastically discussed the current status of forest certification domestically and abroad, as well as China's latest policies on paper and forestry product sourcing.
According to China's 12th Five-Year Plan for China's Paper Industry, China has become the world's number one paper manufacturing and consumption nation, yet in the past few years, the absence of a recognized forest certification scheme in the country posed severe challenges to the trade of its forestry products overseas. However, this situation is set to change.
"Established by the SFA with strong support from the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA), CFCC is currently being progressively and systematically promoted within China's forestry industry," said the CAF's Dr. Lu Wenming. "Taking full consideration of China's domestic conditions, the CFCC scheme is set to facilitate forest certification practices in China, and shall ultimately drive the sustainable development of the Chinese and international forestry industry."
As one of the world's leading forest certification system, PEFC serves as a lineage between CFCC and the global market. According to the Director of PEFC China Initiative Benson Yu, CFCC joined PEFC in 2011, which was regarded as an important milestone for China's forest certification system towards gaining international recognition, while its next step of applying for PEFC endorsement is expected in the near future.
"Currently, forests certified by independent organizations amount to only less than 10% of the world's total commercial forest areas. With the fastest growing forests in the world, China's entry into recognized forest certification schemes will generate a substantial increase in the total mass of certified forest regions on a global scale," said international senior consultant of sustainability Ms. Kayt Watts. Echoing the long-term observation of the international forest certification industry, Ms. Watts remarked that the government's new sourcing policies would effectively prompt more enterprises to reevaluate their commercial practices.
"At present, many countries are calling for a recognized Sustainable Forest and Chain of Custody Certification for government agenda, and some of them have already introduced legality requirements for wood and paper products. In this realm, Australia is introducing a legislation that renders proof of legality mandatory," Ms. Watts added.
Commenting on this, Dr. Lu Wenming said the Chinese government is in the process of establishing a series of related regulatory schemes, comprising of policies for government procurement activities and financial subsidies, to encourage more enterprises to recognize CFCC certification, so as to provide collective support for China to develop its forestry industry responsibly.
According to figures from the Zhonglin Tianhe (Beijing) Forest Certification Center, there are currently eight forestry enterprises and two forestry product processing companies that have been granted CFCC certification, which includes APP-China.
"As an enterprise representing the pulp and paper industry, APP will continue to firmly uphold our commitment to responsible development," said Sophy Huang, PR Director of APP-China. "This includes sourcing of raw materials from legal sources locally and overseas, and proactively supporting certification of pulp and paper products, thereby furthering the sustainable development of forests in China and on a global scale."