The events were designed to address key topics and issues regarding FSC in South Africa but also touched on challenges and opportunities for FSC certification in Africa. The events were held over three days and in attendance were certified companies, retailers, cooperatives, FSC members, and social and environmental NGOs.
FSC Director General Andre de Freitas presented at The Greenest Event in Sandton on 5 June. WWF-sponsored The Greenest Event provided a platform for stimulating and lively discussions on energy, water, waste, climate change and resource use. Mr. de Freitas presented the FSC system and explained how it promotes responsible forestry practices worldwide. He also participated in an expert panel discussion on the role that business can play in sustainability, which was chaired by Jeremy Maggs, journalist and presenter, and host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? FSC was joined at this event by business partners who included Mondi, Kimberly Clark and Sappi.
The FSC Forum on 6 June opened with an introduction and remarks from Marcelle Peuckert, FSC Business Development Director, John Scotcher, FSC National Representative in South Africa and Mr. de Freitas, who highlighted the remarkable successes of FSC globally and in South Africa over the years.
Miguel Sampol, representing the Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association (Bracelpa) gave a presentation on the growth of plantation forestry and FSC in Brazil. He highlighted impressive plans currently in place in Brazil for expanding the area of FSC certified area over the coming years. John Scotcher then gave updates on relevant FSC policy issues, including controlled wood, pesticides and the national standards process.
Marcelle Peuckert gave an introduction to branding and visibility of FSC trademarks and logos, with a focus on the services available to users of the FSC trademarks. The last morning session was a Q&A with an FSC panel who responded to diverse questions from the audience, including providing information on strategies for working with small producers and growing the FSC brand globally.
After lunch, participants were given brief introductions from Marcelle Peuckert (market perspectives and trends from the 2011 Global Survey), and Peter Gardiner, Natural Resources Manager for Mondi (key account perspective on growing the FSC Brand).
A workshop on developing a strategy for increasing market demand for FSC in South Africa was facilitated by Dominic Mitchell. Workshop participants were asked to consider three questions: What should the role and profile of FSC in South Africa be in ten years time? What are the main challenges and obstacles to achieving this? What are the most important short and medium term steps we need to take to achieve the vision?
The session concluded with wide-ranging feedback from participants and concrete ideas for developing a strategy, which included focus on facilitating access for small producers, adding value to the entire supply chain and strengthening the FSC office.
A cocktail reception hosted by Mondi followed the forum and participants had many further opportunities for informal discussions.
FSC IC and FSC South Africa would like to thank everyone for attending and participating in the event. Special thanks go to Mondi and SGS South Africa for sponsoring the event.