Earthprint Ltd

Distinguishing community forest products in the market: industrial demand for a mechanism that brings together forest certification and fair trade

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Little evidence links commercial forestry with poverty reduction. But community forest enterprises, especially those that are democratically run, are perceived to have brighter prospects. High hopes that voluntary market mechanisms might help to realise this potential have so far proved unfounded. Forest certification has got to grips with sustainable forest management, but has tended to buttress the large at the expense of the small, with few certified community successes.

Fair trade has done much to help community enterprises - but mainly in agriculture, not forestry. Despite this, forest-dependent communities are increasingly ceded commercial rights over forest land and trees. Translating those rights into business opportunities could improve local livelihoods on a significant scale. Beyond the provision of basic needs, community forest enterprises accrue wealth locally, spread entrepreneurship, strengthen local business networks, engender local accountability for social and environmental impacts and help to preserve cultural niches and identities. Might it be possible to develop a mechanism that both empowers and distinguishes responsible community forest products in the market - opening up new market niches through which ethical consumers could channel their purchasing power? This report assesses demand for such a mechanism - surveying timber buyers from 21 countries - with more detailed value chain analysis in 4 country case studies. It concludes that there is indeed both demand and practical options to do more for community forest producers. A historic opportunity exists to bring together forest certification and fair trade in the interests both of communities and the forests on which they depend.
Price:
USD $30.00
Print ISSN:
9781843696827
Launch:
2008

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