Monday, August 18, 2014

A cut above: building the market for fair trade timber


What support is needed to build a market for fair trade timber?
View full report

This handbook explores how climate change and variability affect southern Africa. By analysing a number of case studies, the handbook presents how climate has changed in the region, the impact of climate change to key sectors and ways to deal with climate-related challenges. The report argues that some of the global changes in surface air temperature can be unequivocally linked to a human influence. The report notes that according to climate model projections, southern Africa’s surface temperature, as well as minimum and maximum temperatures, are likely to continue rising during the 21st century. The handbook also identifies areas and groups that are most vulnerable and suggests priority interventions.

The report gives the following recommendations.
  • Climate change risks should be considered when planning development projects and programmes.
  • Vulnerability and risk reduction and the mainstreaming of adaptation measures must be included into development initiatives and activities.
  • New institutions and coordination mechanisms need to be created for the implementation of integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts. 
  • New mechanisms for information sharing and knowledge management must be established.
  • Institutional frameworks that allow the participation of all relevant stakeholders, such as NGOs, need to be created.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Supporting Fairtrade in Timber


Sustainable Timber Action

Fair Trade

Copyright: Pilas María SalazarAccording to the report Fair Trade and Development of the European Parliament, Fair Trade has proved to be an effective way to support progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and plays an important role in raising awareness of North-South relations, particularly through public campaigns and the strengthening of citizen-to-citizen cooperation.The European Parliament report calls on public authorities in Europe to integrate Fair Trade criteria into their public tenders and purchasing policies.

Defining Fair Trade

The currently accepted definition of Fair Trade, as agreed by Fairtrade Labelling International (FLO) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), is the following: 

"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the right of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South".

Fair Trade and Fairtrade

Copyright: Miguel A. BernalFairtrade is used to denote the product certification scheme operated by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). The approach is called the “product certification route” whereby products complying with international standards are certified indicating that they have been produced, traded processed and packaged in accordance with the specific requirements of those international standards.
Fair Trade Organisations are organisations that include Fair Trade as part of their mission and as a core element of their objectives and activities. WFTO is the global network of Fair Trade Organizations. This approach is called the “integrated supply chain route” whereby products are imported and/or distributed by organisations with Fair Trade at the core of their mission and activities, using it as a development tool to support disadvantaged producers and to reduce poverty, and combine their marketing with awareness-raising and campaigning.
The European Parliament has recognised both approaches as suitable for public procurement. 

Timber and Fair Trade

Although more than 20 percent of the world’s population relies on forest resources for its livelihood, thus far there have been relatively few Fair Trade initiatives in the timber section. The STA project is seeking to address this gap. More information combining sustainable forest management and Fair Trade can be found here.

Further information

For more information on Fair Trade in the EU please visit the website of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO).
For procurement-specific information on the topic please visit the European Observatory on Fair Trade Public Procurement.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Introducing  the world’s first multi-layer parquet flooring made with FSC® and Fairtrade certified wood. These beautiful new hardwood floors are possibly the most environmentally conscious and socially responsible wood floors available in the world. They exude a warm, calm ambience and are suitable for any natural feeling living and working space. These floors truly embody our “Beauty with a Conscience”© philosophy at Kährs.

Sourced from the first FSC and Fairtrade certified forestry pilot project in Chile’s Curacautin Valley, the collection not only supports the restoration of biodiversity in the local forests but will help provide rights and a fair, sustainable income to the indigenous Mapuche (“of the land”) inhabitants and the descendants of pioneer families.

In 1938 a sawmill opened in Curacautin, Chile.  It was the first plant in Chile to export. At its peak, one thousand employees and their families were dependent upon the Mosso/Focura plywood plant for income. In 2000, the mill filed for bankruptcy when all of the large trees in the whole area had been cut down and no trees replanted. This deforestation in the valley led to poverty, negative landscape impacts, water flow alterations, and destroyed wildlife habitats. Today the valley is becoming one of the first in Chile to re-establish its native forests.  A new, efficient sawmill from Logosol has been built by SSC Forestry and the local forest cooperative is being provided with fair pricing, forest education, safety equipment, business, forestry and technical training under FSC and Fairtrade rules. The pilot project also recognizes the different peoples, their cultures and respects the Mapuche ceremonial sites like Nguillatun and the sacred tree Canelo. It is our hope that the success of this project, in cooperation with other forward-thinking producers, NGO’s and governments, will lead to the creation of numerous other FSC® and Fairtrade certified operations globally. This dual-certification timber standard brings with it the hope and the long-term vision of alleviating poverty, restoring forest rights and forest biodiversity while bringing a sustainable income opportunity to the tree farmers/foresters of our world. The World Resources Institute says there are 1.6 billion people dependent on the forests, most live in poverty.             

Roble, Nothofagus obliqua, also known as (Chilean) Oak, Hualles, Pellín and Coýan by the Mapuche is a beautiful, deciduous hardwood tree from Chile.  Known for its durability it is prized for use in furniture and construction.  Although Roble means oak in Spanish, it is more properly classified as  a southern Beech.   It is one of the forest species of greatest distribution and abundance in the south of Chile, it often occurs in mixed species stands with Raulí and Coigue. The wood is resistant and durable and offers beautiful reddish tints and hues and that accepts color tinting very well.
Raulí, Nothofagus alpina, grows in the same environment as Roble, with low temperatures and strong winds. The stable wood is highly prized with its fine grain and beautiful pale pink colour and is widely used in all types of construction. Nothofagus alpina means “of the mountain”.  Raulí, is the  Mapuche name of the tree and it is a species that is endemic to the sub-Antarctic forests of southern Chile, specifically in the mountains at altitudes between 300 and 1,200 meters above sea level.  The wood is of high quality, strength and stability, it is fine-grained and is mainly used in furniture, floors and large beams.

The two wood species, Roble and Rauli, are mixed together to create a beautiful floor. The surface wood is purchased from the small-scale, community-based timber producers certified to both FSC® and Fairtrade standards while the middle and bottom layers are FSC Mix sources. These floors are elegant, new additions to our World Collection© for 2013.
Tierra (152N1BRRFEKW 0) is a rich, dark brown tinted oiled floor with many color variations that bring the floor to life.
Roja (152N1BRRFBKW 0) has a warm red tone with color variations and a subtle, even grain.
Piedra (152N1BRRFGKW 0) has a grey finish and variation that brings an edgy, modern look to the range.
Cautin (152N15RRF0KW 0) with its warm natural hues, has the strongest color variation of all and has a smooth surface.

“Quality in Wood Since 1857”
Kährs is one of Europe’s leading producers of hardwood floors. With more than 150 years in the business, it is also one of the oldest and one of the most coveted flooring brands in the world having a long history of introducing leading  interior design trends and flooring technology. Our floors can be found in beautiful homes, offices, brand name boutiques, coffee houses,  luxury hotels, auto showrooms, fine apartments, and resorts around the world.  And yet our hearts and headquarters are still in the small town of Nybro, in the Southern Swedish province of Småland in the middle of the forest.                                                               

Multilayer parquet
15 mm
200 mm
2,42 m
Joint system
Surface treatment
Tinted Oil or Natural Oil
Surface refinement
Brushed, (Cautin is Smooth)
30 years
24 kg
6 pcs
2,91 m2
2,6 (similar to birch)
BASTA, EUTR, DIBt, French VOC, FSA, E1, FLO-Cert

LEED NC MR Cr 4.3 Option 2
FSC® and Fairtrade certified (FSC Pure top layer wood, FSC Mix, core
FSC Mix source overall, W11.5.5
Other LEED Credits Possible
Meets all Svanen requirements

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wood flooring from FSC and Fairtrade certified wood

FSC-Fairtrade certified wood floors

Kährs has launched a world-first range of floors made from FSC®-Fairtrade® certified wood. One of the most eco-conscious and socially responsible wood floors on the global market, this stunning range has been produced as part of the first FSC-Fairtrade certified timber, small scale forestry project in Curacautin Valley in Chile. Kährs collection supports not only the restoration of biodiversity in the forest, but also reduction of poverty and restoration of rights to the indigenous Mapuche and descendants of pioneer family foresters.

Made from a combination of sustainable native Rauli and Roble hardwood timber, the new range of two-strip floors features Kährs multi-layer construction and glueless Woodloc® joint, which provide enhanced stability and promote a fast, precise installation. The surface of the floor is crafted from 100% FSC-Fairtrade certified wood whilst FSC Mix certified wood is used for the core layers. The products can also contribute to BREEAM or LEED certified project.

Forming part of Kährs World Collection, designs include: Roja - an even grained floor with a warm, red tone and lots of colour variation; Tierra - a rich, dark brown stained floor with a more even tone and subtle colour variation; Piedra - an on-trend grey toned floor for a modern, urban look and Cautin, with the boldest colour variation and warm natural hue. Each unique floor, except for the smooth-finished Cautin, is brushed and all products are finished with Kährs Nature Oil for minimal ecological impact and easy care.

Fair and responsible forestry forms the foundation of Kährscorporate social responsibility and its "Beauty with a Conscience" philosophy. As one of the leading global wood floor producers, Kährs also only purchases tropical species certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

SSC Wood Technologies exported successfully native wood with dual certification FSC / Fairtrade to Sweden


22 March, 2013

SSC Wood Technologies exported successfully native wood with dual certification FSC / Fairtrade to Sweden

SSC Wood Technologies, part of the SSC group, is successfully exporting roble and raulí to Khärs, the leading engineered wood flooring manufacturer in Sweden. The sawmill located in Curacautín, in Araucania Region, became the first timber enterprise in the world to achieve dual FSC-Fairtrade certification. With the sawn kiln dried timber, floors are manufactured, which are currently marketed as a premium product in Sweden.
This venture dates back to 2008, when the company was established and where by overcoming great challenges in a step by step manner we designed a bespoke sawmill capable of producing quality products for export. SSC Wood Technologies achieved sustainable forest management certification under the FSC SLIMF category (Small and Low Intensity Forest Management) for its group of small native forest owners in the area in 2009, culminating with Fairtrade certification for the mill and its supply chain in 2011.
Fairtrade certification is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. This certification includes among its principles; a guarantee of fair wages, working conditions framed in the scope of law, a high level of health and safety, protection of children’s rights, preservation of the environment and good relations with local communities or ethnic minorities.

FSC and Fairtrade Dual Labelling Pilot Project

FSC and Fairtrade Dual Labelling Pilot Project

FairtradeFSC is looking to differentiate products from communities and smallholders in the marketplace in order to bring them more market benefits. FSC’s Global Strategy clearly identifies increasing access to FSC certification for these producers as an important issue.

Smallholders and communities often face tough competition in the global timber market. This pilot project with Fairtrade International and ICCO aims to test the concept of dual labelling for smallholders and communities in developing countries. If it is successful, it will be the basis for developing an affordable and accessible dual certification system that will ultimately be incorporated into the existing FSC and Fairtrade certification systems.


In 2007, FSC and FLO first explored the potential role of Fairtrade in creating market opportunities for community-based foresters. The research identified market interest for a credible system to distinguish community forest products, and that co-operation between FSC and Fairtrade would be the ideal basis for such a system. These findings are detailed in “Distinguishing community products in the market”, published in February 2008.

A follow-up feasibility study analyzed the ‘fit’ between FSC certified forest products and the Fairtrade portfolio. It considers in more depth the issues related to standards and certification-system-development that would need to be tacked in order to make dual certification a reality.

The study concluded a strong case for the development of FSC and Fairtrade dual-certification that could ultimately benefit millions of forest-dwelling and forest-dependent people.

Current project

The project began in summer 2009. A project coordinator began identifying potential supply chains for dual certification, including producers, manufacturers, traders, and retailers. Requirements of the pilot project were that the producers be community, small, or low-intensity timber operations in developing countries that were already FSC certified, and that the retailers be located in Europe.

In early 2010, Fairtrade developed timber standards and compliance criteria for timber. These were based on a gap analysis of the FSC Principles and Criteria and applicable Fairtrade standards. To date these standards have been used to certify a community forestry operation in Honduras and a group of small/low intensity producers in Chile; another group of small/low intensity producers was assessed for Fairtrade timber certification in Bolivia. All of these producers were previously FSC certified. Final negotiations between retailers and producers are taking place, and the first dual certified products are expected to be in markets in fall 2011.

The potential benefits of dual labelling for smallholders and communities include use of both the FSC and Fairtrade labels, entrance to new markets, agreed upon minimum prices, and guaranteed price premiums, which will go to a Social Fund for use by the producers.

The pilot project is expected to run through December 2013. The remainder of the project will focus on monitoring and evaluation of the existing pilot supply chains rather than adding new supply chains. The FSC and Fairtrade Boards of Directors will decided, based on the project results if dual certification will continue in the future.

Recent developments

In 2009, FSC began identifying potential producers, manufacturers, traders and retailers for dual certification. Producers had to be classified as community, small or low-intensity timber operations, be located in a developing country, and already be FSC certified. Retailers had to be located in Europe.

In 2010, Fairtrade developed standards and compliance criteria for timber, based on a gap analysis of the FSC Principles and Criteria and applicable Fairtrade standards. These standards have been used to certify a community forestry operation in Honduras, and small/low-intensity producer groups in Chile and Bolivia. All were previously FSC certified. The first dual-certified furniture products hit German stores in early 2012.

All products from the project were dual certified as ‘100% from small or community-based forest enterprises that are both FSC and Fairtrade certified’. Dual certification provides smallholders and communities with access to new markets, agreed minimum prices, pre-financing from buyers and guaranteed price premiums, and will contribute to a social fund for the producers.

FSC and Fairtrade will monitor and evaluate the impacts of the project for the producers, traders, and retailers. They will also analyze ways to simplify the dual certification process for producers. Following an evaluation at the end of the pilot project in December 2013 both organizations will agree on future actions.Dual label project link

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A world first: Furniture Made from FSC and Fairtrade Timber

New opportunities for small-scale and community producers

Sandra is a member of Multiagro in Bolivia, one of the first groups to take part in the FSC-Fairtrade pilot project. © 2011 Christian Nusch
18 January 2012
Tables, chairs, benches…. just regular items at a furniture trade show – or so you might think. This furniture, however, is extraordinary. Because for forest workers in Bolivia it means the chance of a better life.
At the international furnishing show (imm) in Germany this week, the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC) and Fairtrade are presenting a new kind of furniture; the first to carry the dual FSC and Fairtrade label. In a unique pilot project between the two organizations, small-scale and community producers in developing countries can access the international market, and improve their living and working conditions.
For poor rural communities, forests are one of the most important ways to earn a living and to maintain their ethnical identity and culture. FSC certification guarantees that forests are managed according to strict social, ecological and economical standards. Safe labour conditions including compliance with the ILO core conventions are also required. By combining FSC certification with Fairtrade Standards, small-scale and community producers also receive a fair price for the wood they supply, along with the Fairtrade Premium.
The first smallholders producing FSC and Fairtrade certified timber are located in Bolivia, Chile and Honduras. The wood for the first furniture comes from smallholder Multiagro in Bolivia. Its members already have plans for the first Fairtrade Premium payment: Educational material for the community’s children. A scholarship fund so children can attend secondary school and a health fund to cover treatment expenses are also being considered. But for now, these ideas are still dreams. “The most important question for us is whether there are buyers prepared to purchase the products made from our FSC and Fairtrade-certified timber“, says Juan Pablo Demeure from Multiagro, who is leading the family business in the second generation. “The whole project will only work if there are customers who are willing to pay a little bit more for the timber.”
The first pieces of furniture made from FSC-Fairtrade-certified timber will be sold in Germany and Austria and include tables, cupboards, benches and chairs. One Swedish company also recently launched FSC and Fairtrade-labelled parquet flooring, made with timber from Chile.

Find stockists of FSC and Fairtrade certified timber products on Fairtrade Germany’s product database.