RAFT recognizes the importance of working across the forest products supply chain, making the connection between better practices in furniture factories and paper mills, and better practices in the forest. RAFT partners work with wood and paper products manufacturers in Asia’s major manufacturing hubs to increase trade in responsibly sourced timber and fibre.
This includes raising awareness and understanding of buyers’ legality requirements and the practical steps required to comply, often involving helping to put in place systems to track the wood and fibre factories use all the way back to the forest it came from and to eliminate illegal and unknown wood and fibre from timber supply chains, with the ultimate goal of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody (CoC) certification.
RAFT partners have introduced nearly 1000 wood manufacturers to the new legality requirements in Australia, the United States and the European Union. RAFT has also helped 78 manufacturers to improve their wood and fibre sourcing – with 20 factories now FSC CoC certified, including the first two FSC CoC certificates in Lao PDR.
As in the forest, this decision to implement a responsible sourcing policy is most often influenced by market demand. New policies in major wood and paper consuming countries and growing demand for certified sustainable products are beginning to change the industry standard in many of Asia’s wood manufacturing hubs. Companies are paying attention and are genuinely concerned about what they must do to stay competitive. Awareness of the new requirements is spreading and rapidly, expanding demand for the tools and technical expertise that RAFT partners provide.