The Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) has become the first tropical timber certification scheme in the Asia Pacific region, and the second in the world after the Gabonese Forest Certification Scheme, to be endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).
“The endorsement of MTCS is a significant achievement for the sustainable forest management community as whole. While the certification movement has its origins in efforts to protect tropical forests, over 90% of the world’s certification today takes place in the temperate forests of Europe and North America”, explained Ben Gunneberg, PEFC Secretary General. “Yet tropical forests in the Southern hemisphere offer the most benefits to tackling some of society’s biggest challenges, including climate change, combating deforestation and forest degradation, and maintaining the world’s precious biodiversity.”
Dato’ Dr. Freezailah Che Yeom, Chairman of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), which operates the MTCS, said, “MTCC is indeed pleased and proud to have obtained the PEFC endorsement, which shows that the various aspects of the MTCS, such as the institutional arrangement and certification standards used, have met the stringent requirements of the PEFC. It gives further assurance that forests certified under the MTCS are implementing the best management practices and contributing to the challenging efforts to achieve sustainable forest management, particularly for the tropical rainforests”.
Dr. Freezailah added that the endorsement enables the MTCS to achieve mutual recognition with 26 other PEFC-endorsed certification schemes. This means that the MTCS-certified timber product manufacturers and exporters will soon be able to combine PEFC-certified material from Malaysia with other PEFC-certified material under the PEFC logo.
“The endorsement is further testimony that the MTCS has made tremendous progress and improvements since it began operation in October 2001. I would like to attribute this success to the hard work of the MTCC management and staff, as well as all the Malaysian stakeholder groups for their contributions and inputs which have been very helpful in improving the scheme to meet the requirements of the PEFC”, added Dr. Freezailah.
The decision to to endorse the 2002 Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification was announced on 5 May 2009 following the outcome of the General Assembly postal vote among the PEFC members on the recommendation of the Board of Directors, based on an assessment of the MTCS by an independent assessor appointed by the PEFC Council.
The endorsement is valid for a five year period, with periodic review to ensure the continued compliance of the MTCS. The full report of the conformity assessment of the MTCS can be obtained from the PEFC website at www.pefc.org.
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Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC)
MTCC was established to develop and operate a voluntary national timber certification scheme, now known as the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS), in order to provide independent assessments of forest management practices to ensure sustainable forest management in Malaysia as well as to meet the market demand for certified timber products. Currently, nine Forest Management Units (FMUs) accounting for a total area of 4.84 million hectares of Permanent Reserved Forests (PRFs) in Malaysia are certified under the MTCS. 141 timber manufacturers and exporters have been awarded the chain-of-custody certificate which qualifies them to supply MTCS-certified timber products to the market.
PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes)
PEFC is a framework for the assessment and endorsement of national forest certification systems that have been developed based on internationally recognised requirements for sustainable forest management. Since its launch in 1999, PEFC has become the largest forest certification umbrella organisation covering national systems from all over the world, delivering hundreds of millions of tonnes of wood to the processing industry and then onto the market place from currently more than 200 million hectares of certified forests. This is an area which is larger than the combined forest area of all European Union member states. PEFC has strong grass roots support from many stakeholders including the forestry sector, governments, trade associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations.