Sustainable Forestry Vital For Malaysia’s Green Economy

Industries and consumers at large are increasingly aware of their role in opting for sustainable product alternatives in support of Malaysia’s green economy. The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) believes the nation’s green economy can benefit further from a two-pronged strategy which includes growing the demand for certified wood products locally and the export of certified tropical timber.

“The Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) is a country-driven initiative and a national commitment towards ensuring sustainable forest management (SFM). Due to the export-oriented nature of the timber industry, MTCS is also a market-driven scheme. We believe it is equally important to nurture the domestic market’s demand for sustainable timber in tandem with higher income levels and greater awareness of social and environmental issues,” explains MTCC CEO, Yong Teng Koon.

To ensure the sustainability of our forests, industries whose operations involve wood-based products such as property developers, furniture manufacturers, paper and pulp and packaging companies, are encouraged to consider sourcing materials from sustainably managed forests. This is where the MTCS plays a vital role in linking the upstream and the downstream sectors through forest management certification and chain of custody certification respectively.

Since its implementation in 2001, a total of 4.66 million ha of forest areas and 349 timber companies have been certified under the MTCS. The scheme ensures that timber products manufactured and sold by the certified companies are sourced from MTCS-certified forests. The MTCS achieved international recognition in 2009 when it was endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which is the largest forest certification system in the world. The endorsement allows the MTCS-certified products to carry the PEFC logo in the international market.

“We are indeed pleased that the PEFC-endorsed MTCS has been recognised by procurement policies in Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand as well as recognised under the Malaysian Green Building Index and other Green Building Systems such as in Singapore, Australia and the United States”, commented Yong. “The PEFC-endorsement also serves as a unique selling point to attract increasingly discerning and environmentally conscious consumers with the certified companies enjoying greater market access for their timber products,” Yong added.

The timber industry is one of the major contributors to the nation's export earnings, accounting for 17.5 per cent of the total export earnings by the commodity sector and 2.7 per cent of the country's total export earnings. In 2014, exports of timber and timber products were the third most important commodity after palm oil and rubber. As at 1 April 2015, Malaysia has exported a cumulative total of over 1 million cubic meters of certified tropical timber to 47 destinations all over Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, South Africa, the United States (US) and Canada. 

MTCC will be participating in the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2015) which will be held from 9 to 12 September 2015 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, booth number 3015. IGEM is in its 6th series, and its goal is to position Malaysia as a Green Technology Hub for the ASEAN Region. Yong encouraged companies dealing in wood-based products to visit the MTCC booth at IGEM 2015 to learn more about the MTCS and its benefits.