23 January, Kuala Lumpur – Financial institutions have a key role to play in leading and supporting efforts to address issues relating to sustainability and climate change. It is not only about redirecting investments to renewable energy and low-carbon businesses, but also to bolster the resilience of forests as one of the major tools in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Taking into consideration the growing need for certification to ensure sustainable timber production and trade, Maybank Investment Bank in collaboration with Bursa Malaysia recently organised a Timber Day “Into the Woods” programme in creating awareness on what this certification means for Malaysia’s timber industry and the sustainability of our forest heritage. 

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) was delighted to be invited as one of the two speakers to speak at this event which was attended by some 50 participants representing investor, stockbroker and government-linked companies, as well as the media. 

MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon shared his perspective on the subject matter through a presentation entitled “Why Certification?: The case of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS).”

“The establishment of MTCC in 1998 has a two-fold objective: to provide the check and balance in ensuring that Malaysia’s rich forest resources are managed sustainably, and to ensure the availability of sustainably produced timber and timber products to meet market and consumers’ demand for such products, especially in the developed countries. Through forest management and chain of custody (CoC) certification under the MTCS, every piece of certified timber products that is being sold could be traced back to the certified forest where the timber came from,” Yong explained.

Yong pointed out currently some 4.49 million hectares of natural forest and 120,100 hectares of forest plantations have been certified under the MTCS. Additionally, some 359 companies have been certified under CoC certification. And there is still much room for further growth and expansion for both forest management and CoC certification.  In this regard, the mandatory requirement by the Sarawak State Government for all long-term concessionaires to obtain certification by 2022 is certainly a step in the right direction. 

“Certified timber products have mainly been exported to the European market principally due to the more progressive procurement policies that have been instituted in these countries which demand for better accountability in environmental protection and conservation. Nonetheless, there are still markets or countries that do not require such strict import scrutiny which makes it challenging to encourage more companies to obtain certification,” Yong elaborated.

Yong concluded his presentation by stressing on the importance of stronger cross-sectoral collaboration and requested Bursa Malaysia to include the MTCS-PEFC reference in its Sustainability Reporting Guide & Toolkit under the environmental themes and responsible sourcing indicators.

He also implored the banking institutions to include MTCS-PEFC reference in their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework for the timber sector and promote the use of PEFC certified products in their collaterals and everyday office usage. 

From left : Nik Azhan Nik Abdul Aziz, Head, Institutional Sales, Malaysia, Maybank Investment Bank; Yong Teng Koon, MTCC CEO; Selvarany Rasiah, Chief Commercial Officer, Bursa Malaysia; Hjh Norchahaya Hashim, Deputy Director General, Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Dr. Tan Wei Lin, Director, Corporate Strategy, Bursa Malaysia