“Information technology (IT) will be a powerful driver in sustainable forest management in years to come,” highlighted Kavickumar Muruganathan, Halcyon Agri, speaking at the IT Solutions for Sustainable Forest Management in Southeast Asia’ seminar in late November.
“We have already seen the proliferation of technology in the tracing and validation of legality of forest-derived commodities. Scaling up and integrating the various technologies into existing forest certification systems would be the next step that all stakeholders in the forestry sector should collectively work towards.”
This clear demonstration of the importance of IT in supporting traceability for a sustainable supply chain was one of the key outcomes of our seminar, held on 29 November 2018 at the Singapore Sustainability Academy.
The seminar brought together people and organisations involved in utilising technologies for sustainable forest management and responsible trade, thereby enabling detection of illegal logging operations, unchecked deforestation and preventing the deprivation of sustainable livelihood opportunities for smallholders and local communities.
“In Myanmar, we are helping stakeholders to use IT at the landscape scale to bring sustainable management to Myanmar’s forests, involving public and private sector participants,” explained Richard Laity, PEFC International.
“This involves monitoring forests using databases and satellite technology to make systems work at the global, national and estate level.”
Two representatives from Myanmar—Eaint Chit and Kyaw Zay Yar—participated in the forum to give an overview of how forest management and timber traceability has been introduced by PEFC into the country at the government, industry and community levels.
Contributions from different sides
Several leading technology providers introduced their IT solutions, including Trimble Forestry with its Connected Forest systems for ‘integrated supply chain visibility’ and Double Helix Tracking’s innovative technology within verification systems, including DNA testing to confirm the true origin of timbers ready for export.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations also gave a global overview of National Forest Monitoring and how open source systems have been developed to provide up to date data for all impacted by forestry.
“We increasingly rely on IT systems such as the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) to support and monitor our smallholder suppliers, and to deliver sourcing information to our customers. IT is also critical in achieving zero-deforestation supply chains,” explained Moray McLeish, Olam International.
Besides the speakers, there was participation from a range of PEFC’s existing and potential stakeholders who attended and joined in the discussion on how to further utilize technology solutions for forestry management in the region and the value to be gained from future collaboration and communication.
This event built on the 2017 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue: Making Certification SMART, a dialogue that explored the benefits and potential for incorporating technology solutions into forest certification.
About the programme for the endorsement of forest certification
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to the PEFC eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests.
As an umbrella organisation, PEFC works by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.
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