Centre launches forest certification scheme to counter foreign agencies
Amid rising international concerns on deforestation and illicit trade in timber, the government has launched its own “national” forest certification scheme to validate entities that adhere to sustainable practices in management of forests and its products.
Introduction of IFWCS as an Alternative Certification Scheme
- Addressing Greenwashing Concerns: IFWCS aims to replace foreign certification agencies amid concerns over the integrity of existing certifications, affecting Indian products' acceptance globally.
- Global Investigation: The initiative follows a global investigative report by ICIJ, revealing doubts about certifications' reliability and prompting India's move towards an independent scheme.
- Government Initiative: IFWCS is a governmentbacked certification, enhancing trust, transparency, and global acceptability of Indian forestbased products.
Development of New Standards and Mandatory Implementation
- Forest Management Standards: New standards include eight criteria, 69 indicators, and 254 verifiers, becoming mandatory for all forest divisions in India.
- NonMandatory Certification: While forest divisions are not obligated to obtain certification, adherence to standards makes them eligible, emphasizing the voluntary nature of the process.
- Greater Acceptance: The initiative is expected to bring greater trust and transparency, boosting the acceptance of Indian forest products in international markets.
Scope and Applicability of IFWCS Certification
- Certification Categories: IFWCS covers sustainable forest management, management of trees outside forests, and chain of custody, ensuring traceability throughout the supply chain.
- Targeted Stakeholders: The certification benefits various stakeholders, including forest management units, woodbased industries, exporters, and traders, enhancing credibility in the market.
- International Market Dynamics: With Europe and the U.S. tightening rules for forest product imports, IFWCS responds to global concerns over deforestation and aligns with climate change commitments.