Strict compliance with EU’s certification to lower PHL furniture sales
Filipino furniture exporters expect a ten to 15-percent decline in revenues with the strict enforcement of European Union’s forestry certification system come March 2013.
The Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody (FSC CoC) certification guarantees that the forest raw material has been obtained from a forest management that maximizes environmental conservation and social benefits.
“We are not ready for its implementation. We will be losing huge revenues once it is strictly implemented; its impact on our revenues will be around 10 to 15 percent,” said Salvio Valenzuela, executive director of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP).
Valenzuela estimated that only 10 companies can strictly comply with the FSC certification.
Such certification is a requirement for exporting furniture products to EU, he said noting, “but the US (United States) definitely will follow.”
For his part, CFIP national president Nicolaas K. de Lange said the FSC certification is expensive but the only current option for furniture manufacturers in the country.
“Thus the industry is trying to look for other options so that companies already exporting to Europe or still planning to will not have the doors to the European market closed on them completely in March 2013,” he said.
To address these issues, De Lange said the Chamber has asked the government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to undertake a two-tiered approach to the situation.
He said the Philippine government can explain to the EU that the country is already imposing a moratorium on logging from natural forests with the implementation of Executive Order 23.
“And that only plantation forests are actively being harvested at the moment. In this light, the possibility of our wood coming from illegal sources is practically nil,” he noted.
Likewise, De Lange said the Chamber has asked the DENR to issue a document certifying that the species of timber that the furniture industry uses are not species indigenous to the Philippines, and are found only in plantations.
“This will ascertain that the timber we use are not from natural growth forests and therefore are not in violation of any local or international laws,” he noted.
Apart from these initiatives, De Lange also cited the need to encourage forest plantation in the country to undergo FSC certification.
The government should likewise lower down the importation costs for FSC-certified materials, he added.
Despite issues in its implementation, De Lange underscored various benefits of complying with the FSC certification.
“Companies that are certified basically have more opportunities open to them, as compared to companies that are not,” he said. “The increase in revenues could result therefore from more customers than from better prices for items that are certified (since there are also substantial cost increases to buying materials that are FSC certified).” — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features