Side event Legality organized jointly by ATIBT and GGSC at the Shanghai Forum


About fifty participants including six Chinese companies were present.

In the margins of the Shanghai Forum, ATIBT and GGSC organized a side-event on legality and certification.

The TEREA consulting firm began the presentations by explaining the concept of certification: « procedure through which an independent body may or may not award a certificate ».

The difference was made between legality certificates and responsible management certificates:

  • The legality certification is based on the existing legislation in the country where the company has its operations. Standards are developed by certification bodies. Thus there are several legality certificates, companies must check with each organization to choose the certificate that suits them.
  • Responsible management certification: not only legality but also standards defined by independent agencies (FSC and PEFC/PAFC) are monitored, and audits are carried out by independent bodies that are accredited by the certification body. This certificate allows you to sell certified products, and guarantees good forest management in addition to legality. 

TEREA insisted on the fact that the certification process must be integrated into the company’s management.

This was followed by a presentation by NEPCON on their Legal Source certification. NEPCON is an NGO that supports and assists companies in responsible purchasing and production. It has been FSC accredited since 2014.

Their Legal Source standard is based on the RBUE, as well as Australia’s Lacey Act. An innovative approach: product-based, the company conducts its due diligence and defines its evaluation framework; it can be used by the company to evaluate due diligence, assess the presence of non-compliance at several levels, verify risk management, etc. Can be used by foresters, industries, traders, importers & exporters.

Finally, Oréade Brèche gave a presentation of the PPECF coaching tool. The coaching process is in 5 phases:

1. The event: reputation analysis

2. Diagnosis by PPECF – free of charge

3. The implementation of the action plan, with the support of a design office

4. Initial audit

5. transversal: follow-up/support of companies with the help of the FLEGT-Certification referent (ATIBT project)

During the discussion time at the end of the presentations, UFIAG highlighted a crucial element in the integration of Chinese companies into these legality and certification processes: the Chinese language. Indeed, to involve the management of Chinese companies present in the Congo Basin, Chinese versions of the various working documents are required, as the headquarters in China do not speak French. For senior management of companies to accept and actively involve themselves, for example in the PPECF coaching process, the initial diagnosis must be translated into Chinese.

The closing speech was by Françoise Van de Ven, president of the UFIGA union (Gabon): let us look to the future with sustainable commitments.