PEFC endorses Indian certification standard

The PEFC officially endorsed the Indian Certification Standard for Sustainable Forest on 23 February. No forests have yet been certified under the standard, but Vijai Sharma, Chairman of The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), maintained that sanction from the PEFC would now lead to ‘Indian forest managers further strengthening their sustainable forest management practices, in line with global standards and multilateral requirements’.

The PEFC said earlier that the lack of certified forests and certified forest-based products had been a trade barrier to companies throughout Indian timber and forest products supply chain, particularly in developing exports to Europe and North America. 

Respondents to the 2018 IMM Trade Survey reported that India was among the most challenging tropical timber supplier from which to obtain information indicating products’ compliance with legislation applicable to the EUTR. The majority said it was very difficult or difficult, which put it on a level with Liberia or the Central African Republic (Figures 1+2).

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 Source: IMM 2018 Trade Survey

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 Source: IMM 2018 Trade Survey

Nonetheless, IMM data shows that European timber and wood products imports from India, notably of wood furniture, have increased quite rapidly in the last two years. In fact, in the two years to November 2018, Indian wood furniture imports rose over 30% more than the previous two. They grew from €399.5 million in 2016 to €426.2 million in 2017.

This development is of particular interest as India is a direct competitor to Indonesia in the furniture sector and exercising EUTR due diligence for complex, processed goods, such as furniture, is reportedly a lot more challenging than for primary and secondary wood products, which were prinicipally imported by IMM survey respondents. However, EU furniture imports from Indonesia have declined in the two years up to November 2018, in spite of the green lane advantage provided by the FLEGT license (Figures 3+4). A follow-up IMM EU Furniture Sector Study to be undertaken later this year will look in detail into these trends.

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Figure 3 Source: IMM data

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 Source: IMM data

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