The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) hosted a session on Responsible Forestry and the discussion led to the conclusion that as long as the market accepts non-certified or even illegal sources of wood, these products will continue to be sold and the expense of the world’s forests. Binding rules such as the upcoming EU Timber Regulation and others will go some way towards resolving this, but will likely not solve wider sustainability issues. Most of the regulations address illegal sources only and legal wood does not imply responsible forestry. Therefore, participants stressed the need for awareness-raising amongst consumers and businesses. There was a consensus that not only civil society but also the private sector and governments have a responsibility in taking action on this front to create the business case for responsibly-managed forests. Furthermore, the role of NGOs in highlighting unsustainable forestry practices to consumers and media, the crucial role of small forest owners and ways on how to engage small and medium-sized companies were part of the discussion.
There were a number of other thematic sessions throughout the two-day conference which included: Organic and sustainable food chains, investments in the future of business, sustainability requirements and labelling schemes, and corporate social responsibility.
For the closing of the conference, the organizers Organic Services, COLABORA, and forum CSR international, along with FSC and ten other event partners published the “SusCon Bonn Declaration”. It calls on politicians and businesspeople to develop a sustainable economic, social and ecological future for the planet and future generations that depends upon a necessary paradigm change.
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