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Environmental efforts made by the Japanese paper industry

Concept for Wood Procurement | Forest Certification SystemsConcept for Wood Procurement | Forest Certification Systems

“Forest certification system” ensures sustainable forest management.

The “forest certification system” was initiated with a view to standardizing forest management under more universal values while respecting the differing conditions among countries and regions. Under most forest certification systems, a third-party organization assesses and certifies that the forest is appropriately and sustainably managed.
In practice, countries have adopted their own certification systems. Japan’s certification system is called SGEC, which was mutually recognized with PEFC in 2016.
By sourcing raw material from such certified forests, the Japanese paper industry supports the forest farmers that manage forests responsibly and, as a consequence, contribute to forest conservation in the world.
For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sustainable Sourcing Code for Paper has been established, which endorses FSC- and PEFC-certified paper (including SGEC-certified paper). Forest certification is increasingly adopted for paper and paperboard products.

Example of forest certification systems

ISO14001 (international standards)

The international standard for environmental management systems. As a non-binding technical support tool for forestry, ISO14061 was established in 1999. In recent years, many major forest companies and pulp and paper manufacturers have been certified under ISO14001.

Forest Stewardship Council (“FSC”) (international standards)

FSC started in 1993 as a not-for-profit membership entity comprising representatives of diverse groups such as environmental NGO’s, forest product companies, indigenous people, community forest cooperatives and forest product certification organizations. It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany since 2003. As of January 2019, there were 196 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in 84 countries (Forest Management Certification) and about 36,000 entities in 124 countries held the FSC Chain of Custody certification (CoC certification). In Japan, point of contact for FSC is WWF Japan.

Sustainable Forest Initiative (“SFI”) (North America, South America, Africa)

The system started in 1994, which was an initiative by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). The certification standard is the observance of the principles and objectives whose ultimate goal is “sustainable forest management.” The certification system is operated by independent third-party certification bodies since 1999.

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (“PEFC”) (Europe, North America)

PEFC was created in 1999 by private organizations in Germany and 13 other countries as a response to the interest among exporters of north European timber in acquiring forest certifications (ISO14001, FSC). As of September 2018, about 307.3 million hectares of forests were PEFC-certified (FM certification) and about 19,800 organizations in 71 countries held CoC certification, which is the largest, as the certified forest area.

Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (“SGEC”) (Japan)

SGEC was formed in 2003 by the forest and timber industries of Japan together with interested academic societies, businesses and environmental NPOs for the purpose of forest certification in Japan. It was mutually recognized by the PEFC in June 2016. As of January 2019, about 1.9 million hectares of forests were certified under SGEC (FM certification) and 368 organizations in Japan were CoC certified.