Why Cambodia Must Move Fast on Forest-Positive Textiles

Exclusive: Wood Central spoke to Wikkie Netten, PEFC APAC's Marketing Manager ahead of the 3rd Textile and Apparel SEA - Cambodia Summit.

Thu 14 Mar 24


The Cambodian textile industry is proliferating, and with this growth comes an increased responsibility to ensure ethical and sustainable practices – especially in a world where global policymakers are increasingly cracking down on deforestation and conflict trade.

Speaking to Wood Central exclusively ahead of the 3rd Textile and Apparel SEA – Cambodia Summit, Wikkie Netten, PEFC’s APAC Marketing Manager, said the world is “moving fast on forest-positive sourcing for man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCFs), natural rubber and packaging.”

Ms Netten will address the summit tomorrow, March 15, and said, “MMCFs are increasingly replacing traditional synthetic materials due to their perceived lower environmental impact.”

“At the same time, more cellulose and natural rubber products are in demand from sustainable brands catering to changing consumer habits” However “, their longevity as sustainable material choices depends on the responsible management of the forest resources used in their production.”

As industries move from reliance on carbon-intensive synthetic fibres to natural alternatives, deforestation and forest degradation pose significant environmental and social risks.

These include biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and disruption of livelihoods for indigenous communities. Therefore, ensuring traceable and sustainable sourcing of forest materials is crucial for brands and retailers committed to truly responsible practices.

“That’s why PEFC’s comprehensive approach to sustainable forest management and chain of custody provides a robust system to track the journey of MMCFs from forest to garment,” Ms Netten told Wood Central, “allowing brands to make verifiable claims about responsible sourcing.”

“Certified forests and producers adhere to strict environmental and social standards, mitigating deforestation risks, promoting biodiversity conservation, and meeting international standards on labour rights.”

Ultimately, Ms Netten said that understanding how certification translates into on-the-ground action gains essential insights into the business models that encourage and promote the well-being of forest ecosystems.

“My aim is ultimately to showcase concrete strategies and the support that forest managers, producers and manufacturers receive while working toward ensuring the traceability of MMCF materials,” Ms Netten said.

“By implementing transparent communication and clear labelling, brands can build trust by making verifiable claims about responsible sourcing, demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, and simultaneously contribute to a healthier planet.”

As Cambodia’s textile industry evolves towards higher-value products, there has never been a better time to embrace “forest-positive sourcing.”

“By implementing sustainable practices, businesses around Southeast Asia are catering to the growing demand for eco-conscious clothing while fostering responsible industry growth.”


  • 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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