Tackling illegal timber, one barcode at a time
The workshop will be co-hosted by Proforest and BVRio Environmental Exchange in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Forestry Commission. It also forms part of the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme of the UK Government.
Taking place over two days, it will offer a valuable opportunity for buyers and producers of forest and agricultural commodities, including timber, palm oil and cocoa, to meet with government and civil society representatives from Ghana, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon to discuss how legal compliance can support sustainable commodity markets. An update will also be provided on Ghana’s FLEGT-VPA process.
Whilst the expansion of large-scale production of timber and agricultural commodities is a major driver of tropical deforestation, if implemented sustainably and in compliance with legal requirements it also has the potential to contribute to local livelihoods and national economic development.
“Many businesses producing or sourcing from West and Central Africa have made commitments to deforestation-free, sustainable commodity production. Legal compliance can be an effective a first step for businesses to demonstrate compliance with these commitments, whilst promoting smallholder and gender inclusion.” Abraham Baffoe, Proforest’s Africa Regional Director.
Legal compliance alone cannot fully meet the deforestation-free commitments made by many companies, but it can make a significant contribution. This workshop will explore the extent to which legal compliance can support in reducing forest loss and provide a platform for developing more responsible production and sourcing. It will aim to learn lessons from Brazil – where the Twin Track Approach has delivered positive results.
Proforest will share results from legal benchmarking reviews conducted in Ghana, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. One aspect of the legal reviews has been to compare the provisions of statutory and customary legislation with the requirements of standards and initiatives such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020).
BVRio will also introduce their legal timber trading platform, the Responsible Timber Exchange, which aims to support transparency, legality and sustainability in the timber sector. The platform includes an in-built due diligence and supply chain tracking system. A key focus of this discussion will be to explore how BVRio can help traders meeting the due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation and the US Lacey Act in the absence of a fully functional timber legality assurance system in Ghana.
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