“The Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC) says that rising demand for sustainable tropical timber in the EU would lead to an increase in sustainable forest management in tropical countries… and its working to make it happen.”
According to the STTC, harnessing the power of the market may be the best way to increase sustainable forest management in tropical countries. The logic is simple: if EU countries start buying more sustainably produced timber from tropical countries, then those countries will be incentivised to produce more sustainable timber. Inevitably, this will mean the introduction of ethical forest management to an unparalleled degree.
The STTC, which is a public-private sector alliance, has crunched the numbers. It says that if Europe’s seven largest timber importers (the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands) were to only accept verified sustainable material across their borders, a further 12.5 million hectares of forest would come under sustainable management. To put that in perspective, 12.5 million hectares is a figure that approaches the area of England (being half a million hectares short).
The STTC grew out of a Dutch government-backed non-profit in 2013. But it has added multiple partners over the years, and counts major cities like Berlin and Barcelona amongst its backers. It aims to increase the use of sustainable tropical timber in Europe to 50% (which is describes as a tipping point) by hitting home with an important message: that the use of tropical timber is not, in itself, a driver of deforestation.
Over time, the STTC has also started to focus on analysis and metrics over the use of sustainable timber in Europe. This, it says, is a vital part of its work: you can’t target a message without knowledge of the market. As the STTC continues to evolve, it plans to become a hub for information over the sustainable tropical timber market in Europe, as well as deforestation in tropical countries.