‘Call to Action’
To National & International Forest and Wood-Based Sector Government Policy Makers and Programme Leads
Building a Responsible SME Forest Sector
A forest-based sector plays a central role in a bioeconomy; they provide material (wood and non-wood), bioenergy and a wealth of ecosystem services. As such the demand for responsibly sourced wood is expected to rise exponentially.
With that in mind and in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic recovery, there is a renewed urgency to increase supply chain resilience for wood-based supply chains through capacity building. However, for smallholders and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a lack of representation, organisation and support will affect their ability to develop responsible trade practices and will likely lead to further deforestation, degradation and conversion to agriculture.
The Briefing is a call to action for national and international policy and programme developers to review their approach to engaging SMEs.
Independent research outlined in the Briefing along with the Association Survey for Knowledge (ASK) programme, Responsible Trade Dialogues (RTDs) and Academy demonstrate that the private sector is willing to be part of the solution and engage in policies and programmes addressing legality and sustainability. However, this collective evidence suggests that initiatives deployed are failing to achieve the desired results with private sector, particularly SMEs. The Briefing advocates that new approaches are needed to prioritise reaching and engaging SMEs at scale, as they play an outsized role in any local economy:
SMEs are the backbone of the forest management and forest products sector around the world. These SME’s are embedded in the local communities, employ local people and also spend money from other local suppliers. They are the thread that connects the forests and plantations, with the tree nurseries and sawmills, with the hauliers and engineers. NGP Technical Assistance knows that by bringing together these SME’s with local communities and larger forestry companies that we can all make a positive difference for people and nature through sustainable tree plantations and managed forests.
Andrew Heald, Director
New Generation Plantations Technical Assistance
It follows that associations and similar organisations, for example cooperatives, are needed to better represent and support SMEs to increase and enhance their involvement in major international forums and national forest sector processes:
GTF’s support for SMEs in the wood sector, as well as its support for building the capacities of associations in the forest-wood sector, is more than ever appreciated by our association, ATIBT.
Indeed, speeches on sustainable development have become innumerable in major international forums. The visibility and call for contributions of professional associations representing a responsible private sector, committed to the issues of responsible development and best practices remain anecdotal.
However, the contribution of these associations to economic, social, environmental, political and legislative issues need to be taken into account. The actions and tools implemented, with the support of committed donors, are structured around key issues in today’s forestry world, around a material, wood, on which the future of our world is largely dependent.
Networks are essential to ensure concerted and effective action. By relying on the entrepreneurial fabric that structures associations and inter-union organisations, it is possible to go further and initiate a dynamic between the institutional and field activities on sustainable development practices to be implemented within the tropical timber forest sector.
We would, therefore, like to welcome this Briefing from GTF and invite you to read it carefully.
Benoît Jobbé-Duval, Managing Director
Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT)
The Briefing is in three languages English, French and Spanish and will also be circulated to GTF’s 130+ association supporters across all regions and we will record their responses. The Board are available to discuss the report recommendations in more detail. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We thank you in advance for your consideration.