Clock is ticking for tropical forest sustainability

28 January 2020

The Fair&Precious campaign commits business to support sustainable tropical timber sourcing and communicates the multiple benefits of sustainable forest management, says Benoît Jobbé-Duval, managing director of the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT)

At the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC) conference in November, meteorologist Reinier van den Berg of Meteo Group stressed the urgency of maintaining the tropical forests and their critical role in climate change mitigation. He said the clock could be turned back, including through driving uptake of sustainable forest management, but in terms of meeting international targets for curbing global warming, it already stands at five past midnight.

This presentation impressed me personally, and it is true that it is time to act very clearly.

This, among other reasons, is why ATIBT developed the Fair&Precious (F&P) brand marketing campaign.

Launched in 2016, F&P is a membership initiative for businesses across the tropical timber sector. It aims to enhance the value of certification in sustainable management of tropical forests through targeted communication. Companies along the supply chain, which undertake to source FSC or PEFC-PAFC-certified tropical timber and sign up to our 10 commitments on sustainable, socially responsible tropical timber sourcing, can use the brand in their own communications and consequently benefit from F&P promotion and marketing.

Those 10 commitments include supporting management that maintains the forest and its capacity to combat global warming and measures to preserve habitats, combat wildlife crime and protect biodiversity. They also demand that companies’ timber sourcing supports the well-being, education, livelihoods and wider development of forest communities, our key allies in the fight against deforestation.

We are continually looking at ways to reinforce our message and strengthen the campaign. Earlier this year F&P and the STTC ( agreed to work more closely together, combining the campaign’s strengths in marketing and STTC’s capabilities in tropical timber market analysis and monitoring.

We have also just relaunched and redesigned our website ( and under its new ‘You are’ section, it tailors F&P campaign messaging to five key market groups; consumers, industry professionals, distributors, public bodies and journalists.

The consumer page, for instance, highlights how sustainable forest management preserves habitats, flora and fauna, supports local economies, helps mitigate climate change and deters forest conversion.

The site also includes an impactfully revised presentation of the 10 F&P commitments on sustainable, socially beneficial tropical timber sourcing.

We’ve also included a series of 40-second videos giving a concise commentary on the values and approach to forestry of F&P forest managers. These focus on their contribution to combating wildlife crime, provision of healthcare, education and access to housing for families in forest areas and wider socio-economic and environmental benefits.

They also look at the technical performance, aesthetics, design potential and multiple uses of tropical timber, from decking to railway sleepers.

In addition the website provides contacts for further information, subscribing to the joint STTC and F&P newsletter and becoming an F&P member.

I urge TTJ readers to take a look and think about joining F&P to support sustainable tropical forest management and a sustainable tropical timber supply chain. 

Benoît Jobbé-Duval