Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) certified Bảo Châu Private Enterprise as its official member of the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) on Thursday.
GFTN is one of WWF’s initiatives to combat illegal logging and to drive improvements in forest management while transforming the global marketplace into a force for saving the world’s forests. It links more than 200 companies, communities and governments in over 30 countries to create market incentives for responsible forestry and trade practices. GFTN was established in 1991 and is the world’s longest-running and largest forest and trade programme of its kind.
Bảo Châu Enterprise manages more than 2,000 hectares of plantation forest in the central coastal province of Phú Yên. With the participation of this network, Bảo Châu will strive to expand its sustainable forest area to some 5,000 hectares by 2020 according to the provincial forest development plan.
Lê Thiện Đức, GFTN Vietnam Coordinator, said Bảo Châu was the tenth Vietnamese wood enterprise to take part in this network. In joining this network, Vietnamese businesses will be supported through new programmes for market regulation, such as EU Timber Regulations, Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (for the European market) and the LACEY ACT (for the US market); connections to buying and selling markets; and consulting services for technical issues in finding certified materials.
Deputy Chairman of Phú Yên People’s Committee Trần Hữu Thế said efforts to participate in sustainable forest management and the timber plantation business in accordance with the world’s standards is necessary for enterprises.
There is also a major social responsibility in indirectly generating income for growers, said Thế.
He said the province would create favourable conditions for enterprises involved in afforestation, including Bảo Châu Enterprise, to achieve the goal of managing its entire plantation forest area in a sustainable manner. In turn, these enterprises should be qualified to export forest products to strict markets such as the US, Europe, Asia, Japan and South Korea in the future.
According to Huỳnh Văn Hạnh, deputy chairman of the HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association, Việt Nam’s wood export turnover still accounts for a small proportion in comparison with the total wooden furniture consumption value in the world, which is some US$467.7 billion per year.
The important thing is that high-value products are always geared towards demanding markets and require strict processes in documenting the wood’s origin, while local firms have not built a reputation in these markets. By possessing a Forest Stewardship Council certificate and Chain of Custody documents or by joining organisations like GFTN Vietnamese enterprises gain prestige, said Hạnh.
Việt Nam has the fifth largest wood processing industry in the world, with a turnover of $7.3 billion in 2016. It is predicted that the country’s wood and wood products export turnover will reach some $8 billion this year.
GFTN Việt Nam was established in 2005, with members such as Vĩnh Long Import Export Joint Stock Company and Thủy Sơn Investment JSC.
To reach the target, Vietnamese businesses will need to change products continuously and to seek new export markets. However, to reach potential and demanding markets, enterprises will need stricter control over the origin of their wood and raw materials. If there are no certificates or checks recognised by international organisations, enterprises will not be able to reach markets such as the US or Europe. — VNS