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Certification and labelling as a new tool for sustainable forest management
journal contributionposted on 1997-01-01, 00:00 authored by Anne WallisAnne Wallis, D Stokes, Geoffrey WescottGeoffrey Wescott, T McGee
Sustainable management of the world's forests has emerged as a major forestry issue on the international agenda. Certification and labelling have caught the attention of the international community as a tool to bring forest management toward sustainability. Certification is the third party assessment of a product or service to show that it is in compliance with a specific standard. In-depth interviews were used in this study of Victorian timber industry stakeholders to determine their current views on certification and labelling. It was found that knowledge levels of certification and labelling varied enormously among respondents. Those with the greatest knowledge see the introduction of certification and labelling as being inevitable if overseas markets are to be maintained. Those with a lesser knowledge displayed tentative support for the concept. All stakeholders envisage that when used appropriately, this tool will lead to improved forest management practices by increasing the pressure on producers to use acceptable and environmentally sound procedures within the forest management unit. Results of this study indicate that many stakeholders believe in the potential of certification and labelling, but at this stage express a variety of viewpoints as how to best go about it. In order for certification and labelling to be appropriate workable tools for sustainable forest management in Victoria, mechanisms for its implementation need to be pursued. Furthermore, the use of certification and labelling as marketing tools will depend on such issues as the effectiveness of product labelling and consumers' willingness to pay.