IGES Study on Forest Certification

For­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is a vol­un­tary, market-based instru­ment designed to improve for­est man­age­ment by enabling buy­ers to iden­tify tim­ber prod­ucts derived from well­man­aged forests. While small for­est enter­prises make an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the for­est indus­try in many coun­tries, they have found for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion dif­fi­cult to achieve. There has thus been a recent move­ment to make cer­ti­fi­ca­tion more acces­si­ble to small for­est hold­ings and low/intermittent vol­ume pro­duc­ers. The For­est Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil (FSC) has launched “group cer­ti­fi­ca­tion” and the Indone­sian Eco­la­belling Insti­tute (LEI) has devel­oped Pen­gelo­laan Hutan Berba­sis Masyarakat Lestari (PHBML) specif­i­cally to pro­mote community-based for­est man­age­ment. These two pro­grammes can be viewed as part of a range of ini­tia­tives that seek to improve for­est man­age­ment by pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and ben­e­fits to local communities.

This study con­tributes to inde­pen­dent mon­i­tor­ing and com­par­a­tive assess­ment of for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes. It assesses the cred­i­bil­ity of the two cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grammes oper­at­ing in Indone­sia that are suited to community-based for­est man­age­ment – FSC group cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and PHBML – using the For­est Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Assess­ment Guide (FCAG) devel­oped by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)/World Bank Global For­est Alliance. Hav­ing more than one cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme could encour­age com­pe­ti­tion that leads to improved
per­for­mance, but it also raises con­cerns about effi­ciency and redundancy.

This assess­ment has found that both FSC group cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and PHBML meet almost all the FCAG require­ments for inde­pen­dent ver­i­fi­ca­tion for improved for­est man­age­ment. Both pro­grammes share a large degree of sim­i­lar­ity in that they:

  • Were devel­oped through multi-stakeholder processes and accord­ing to inter­na­tional frameworks;
  • Attempt to place a bal­anced empha­sis on the three pil­lars of sustainability;
  • Have mea­sur­able stan­dards, are performance-based and are applic­a­ble to the FMU (for­est man­age­ment unit) level;
  • Pro­vide for the equi­table par­tic­i­pa­tion of diverse stakeholders;
  • Have mech­a­nisms and pro­ce­dures to con­trol the use of their logos and have chain of cus­tody (CoC) stan­dards; and
  • Require a set of con­trac­tual arrange­ments between the own­ers and the cer­tifi­cate holder.

As is to be expected of a national stan­dard, in some areas LEI pro­vides more spe­cific guid­ance to for­est man­agers and audi­tors than the FSC generic for­est man­age­ment stan­dard, though For­est Cer­tifi cation for Community-based For­est Man­age­ment in Indone­sia there are some areas where LEI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion processes could be strength­ened. Over­all, LEI pro­vides a cred­i­ble cer­ti­fi­ca­tion option yet does not enjoy the same mar­ket recog­ni­tion and accep­tance as FSC. In some cases, the sup­port organ­i­sa­tions that have assisted com­mu­ni­ties in acquir­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of their for­est man­age­ment against the PHBML stan­dard are now tar­get­ing FSC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of these same forests because of greater demand for the FSC label.

To over­come this lim­ited recog­ni­tion, LEI needs to adopt more assertive strate­gies to edu­cate poten­tial buy­ers that its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grammes meet inter­na­tional bench­marks. LEI could explore the options of mutual recog­ni­tion and mem­ber­ship with inter­na­tional accred­i­ta­tion bod­ies, and could pro­mote its strengths to inter­na­tional buy­ers bet­ter by con­tin­u­ing to strengthen the Eng­lish ver­sion of its web­site. It could also pro­mote its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as meet­ing the require­ments of pub­lic tim­ber pro­cure­ment poli­cies for legal and sus­tain­able wood prod­ucts. Other roles that LEI is well-positioned to ful­fil include devel­op­ing stan­dards for the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of REDD (Reduc­ing emis­sions from defor­esta­tion and for­est degra­da­tion in devel­op­ing coun­tries) projects, and pro­mot­ing for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a REDD strategy.

The com­plete study avail­able to down­load here

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LEI’s Certified Forests

Untitled Document

2.388.775,35 Ha Plan­ta­tion Forests
36.917,080 Ha Com­mu­nity Forests
5 Chain of Cus­tody



Total 2.425.020,43 Ha

(2017, Jan­u­ary)