The 4th Think Tank of ATIBT took place on November 15 and 16, in videoconference. A look back at this event which brought together nearly 80 people.
The ATIBT / Fair&Precious Think Tank "What future for certified concessions in the Congo Basin?" was launched in 2018 with the support of PPECF (KFW - COMIFAC).
This fourth Think Tank gave a wide ranging perspective of the state of the tropical forest sector, covering key environmental and market issues and developments. Moderated by Claude Garcia, the discussions of these two days led to rich exchanges and covered many topics
Session 1: Improving the image of certified tropical timber in Europe
ATIBT’s Fair&Precious brand campaign and wider marketing of verified sustainable tropical timber were a major focus. Marketing consultant Bernard Faucon addressed further improving promotion of certified tropical timber in Europe and Hugues Soundat-Boutamba of the Gabonese Embassy in France looked at strengthening communications at institutional level.
There was an update on the work undertaken at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech at the Université de Liège to validate the 10 commitments Fair&Precious partners make to operate sustainably, ethically and legally. The study draws on latest scientific research to demonstrate the commitments’ core linkages to sustainable forest management.
Initial findings from the Thémis project to monitor levels of verified responsible sourcing by European timber businesses were also presented. The initiative launched this year and the results of the first round of monitoring of their members’ levels of verified responsible procurement using the Thémis data collection tool has just been completed by trade association partners in the project, Le Commerce du Bois of France, Fedustria of Belgium and ATIBT.
The latest news on the Dryades project to undertake life cycle assessment on tropical wood products and develop environmental product declarations for them, particularly to underpin their use in construction, was reported by Alessandra Negri and Eric de Munck of Netherlands market development body Centrum Hout.
Session 2 - Returning value to forests, valuing ecosystem services (ES) and certification
Another core topic discussed was development of payment for ecosystem services (PES) in the tropical sector, with a particular focus on exploring opportunities in the carbon market. There were presentations from experts at Terea and Eticwood and a look at the Moringa investment fund, which targets agroforestry projects in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Situation of certification in the Congo Basin was discussed from various angles. Germain Yéné, Congo Basin PAFC project coordinator announced the imminent endorsement of the Congo Basin PAFC scheme and its operationalization. Caroline Duhesme presented the Focus Forests project initiated by FSC to develop a framework of values and definitions and a dialogue method to be applied at the landscape level (beyond the FMU) to find a solution to IFLs.
Session 3 - Exploring new markets for tropical timber
French timber development council the CNDB firstly tackled use of tropical wood in construction, while another subject was market development of lesser known tropical species.
NGO FERN gave its view on the prospective impacts of the proposed new EU regulation to ensure deforestation-free supply chains for forest and eco-system risk commodities (FERCs), including wood (see our news). This involves for operators to apply mandatory Due diligence. Unlike the EUTR, the new regulation will include deforestation criteria in addition to legality criteria. The Commission has also foreseen a system for evaluating producer countries to assess their level of risk.
Session 4: Update on COP26 and presentation of the ATIBT 2022 Forum
There was also a discussion of the outcomes for the forest and timber sector of COP26, where decision makers endorsed the Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which is backed with €14 billion of funding, with the objective of halting deforestation by 2030.
Think Tank delegates additionally heard about plans for the ATIBT 2022 Forum, to be held in Nantes, from Bertrand Faucon and ATIBT General Manager Benoît Jobbé-Duval.