Before EUDR, Green Finance is Key to De-risk Tropical Timber

The peak intergovernmental body for conservation of tropical forests wants global investment in the world's "deforestation fronts"

Fri 08 Mar 24


With the European Union’s landmark deforestation regulation just months away from effect, green finance plays a crucial role in certifying the world’s tropical forests, which remain at the highest risk of deforestation.

That is according to Yong Teng Koon, who, until mid-2021, was the long-time CEO of the PEFC-aligned Malaysian Timber Certification Council, who yesterday spoke at the International Conference on Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests in Sarawak, Malaysia.

It comes as Wood Central reported in December that the International Tropical Timber Organisation Executive Director, Sheam Satkuru, warned that global leaders must ramp up investment in sustainable tropical forest management or risk large-scale deforestation caused by land use change.

According to Mr Koon, “Tropical forests are valuable and essential to be sustainably managed,” adding that “to be able to do so, it’s also important to ensure that SFM must also provide economic value with additional values from ecosystem services.” 

He added, “The industry also needs supportive policy and an enabling environment, including assurance of long-term tenure.”

In 2019, Lars Hein spoke of combining the environment with economics as part of Natural Capital Accounting. Footage courtesy of @TedX.

In August, Wood Central reported on the importance of ecosystem services and the role that forest certification – PEFC, Responsible Wood (in Australia) and FSC – can play in providing value to forest assets.

Over the past few months – leading up to COP28 in Dubai, interest in ecosystem services has surged with the Biden Administration’s ‘Green Deal’ unlocking a multi-trillion dollar industry for “nature-based assets.”

Mr Koon gave a keynote address at a conference organised in conjunction with the 2024 International Day of Forests – later this month.

The conference was a collaboration between the STA, Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) and the World-Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia, with support from the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO).

ITTO works to make sustainable management of tropical forests (SFM) a global reality by implementing policies through field-implemented projects and activities to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. Footage courtesy of @ittosfm.

Exploring the relationship between forestry and sustainable development, it “strived to create a comprehensive strategy crucial for the long-term preservation of tropical forest ecosystems.”

It comes after Ms Satkuru stressed to COP28 leaders the importance of sustainable tropical forest management investments in the planet’s future and the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

“There is so much more that forests can be acknowledged and recognised for in terms of not just socioeconomic and environmental protection but also [carbon] sequestration and storage rates,” Ms Satkuru said at a side event focused on Advancing Sustainable Forest Management: Financing Mechanisms for Carbon and Biodiversity.

“To fight climate change and transform our economies, we must urgently invest in sustainable tropical forest management.”

According to Ms Satkuru, “Tropical forests offer a vital pathway to a climate-resilient future,” before urging “all stakeholders to work with us to champion sustainable tropical forest management and ramp up investment in them.”


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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