Most tropical timber exporting countries have developed initiatives and policies directed to achieve sustainable forest management practices. Consumers in most developed countries are demanding a credible evidence through specific certification systems, confirming that the forest products originate from a sustainably or well managed forest. The global concern about illegal wood trading deals is growing: as from year 2010 onwards trading and import of wood of unknown origin and illegal wood into EC countries will be prohibited through special EC laws.
Recent market studies indicate that timber producers will increasingly have to prove their responsible forest management. The instrument to achieve this is Forest Certification. For this purpose, national and international Principles, Criteria, Indicators and Performance Standards (PC&I) have been developed and institutions have been established to act as standard setting bodies. These bodies accredit and monitor private certification companies that undertake forest auditing for forest management and chain-of-custody certification from forest origin to the customer. Compliance with national (e.g. Malaysian Criteria & Indicators MC&I, Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia LEI) and international SFM standards (e.g. Forest Stewardship Council FSC, Programme on Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes PEFC) is necessary for timber buyers who want to have confidence that their traded forest products come from certified sources only. 

To date, credibly certified forest areas enjoy significant economic success. Over the mid-term the voluntary market instrument of forest certification will gradually develop into an international standard to be complied with by all timber producers targeting sensitive overseas markets. The ISO-Series of Quality and Environmental Management Systems are a good example indicating this general trend. Beyond this, independent reviews confirm that certified producers have increased their managerial, operational, environmental and social as well as economic performance. All these improvements also contribute to enhanced shareholder value and strengthen the economic competitiveness of responsible timber producers.
ifmc professionals can successfully lead your company to achieving forest certification, which will open up increasing business opportunities in attractive buyer markets demanding certified forest products.