RAFT Story of Change: Charting a New Course for Wood Products Manufacturers in China
|In the Yangtze River Delta, China’s largest wood processing hub, companies are starting to ask questions about the source and the legality of the millions of cubic meters – and hundreds of millions of dollars worth – of wood they import annually from all corners of the globe.
Among those imports, Lu Weiguan, CEO of Anxin Flooring, is very pleased to be finding more Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood to make his floorboards. Mr. Lu is equally happy to see his government working with trading partners to promote trade in responsibly sourced wood products, creating new opportunities for responsible businesses like his.
If you are standing on a wooden floor, or sitting at a wooden table, chances are they have passed through China. Often called ‘the world’s workshop’, China sits at a critical link in the global timber products supply chain. In 2009, timber imports reached a historic high of 113 million cubic meters, up 22 percent from the previous year. Approximately half of that volume left the country as manufactured products the same year, valued at over 27.3 billion US dollars.1 In spite of recent financial troubles in major markets, China’s trade in this sector has remained robust and will likely continue to be, due in part to growing demand for wood products at home. This makes China a critically important partner in efforts to expand responsible forest management across Asia and the Pacific, and globally.
In 2008, the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) program began its work to help mobilize China’s enormous influence in support of globally responsible forestry and transparent trade. This includes: promoting policies that drive responsible forestry at home and abroad; strengthening the business response to increasing demands for legal and sustainable products; and increasing collaboration with neighbors and trading partners to improve forest management practices across the region.