Why Wood Chips Is Vietnam’s Green Ticket Into New Markets

Thousands of smallholders are now working with the world's largest paper and packaging companies to provide certified wood chips into global supply chains.

Thu 06 Jun 24


Wood chips are big business—not only in producing pulp for paper and packaging but increasingly burned to make biochar for green energy.

Vietnam, the world’s largest producer of wood chips, is at the forefront of this green shift, working with its vast number of smallholders to produce chips for global pulp and paper.

Now, PEFC, the world’s largest forest certification scheme, is working with some of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies to develop a due diligence system to verify the sustainable credentials of thousands of Vietnamese smallholders.

According to Richard Laity, PEFC’s APAC Manager, these organisations are now leveraging PEFC controlled-source certification to lever sustainability with improved productivity: “Smallholders who undergo the due diligence are getting access to improved germplasm, which are supported by the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Science, as well as international buyers,” Mr Laity said, who manages a team of experts looking to grow forest certification across South East Asia.

In recent years, private forest certification has grown exponentially across Asia, with the region now at the forefront of the push to reduce deforestation and prepare for the new EUDR – thanks largely to the role of certification in cleaning up supply chains.

According to Dr Vu Tan Phuong, director of Vietnam’s Forest Certification Office (VFCO) and PEFC’s representative in Vietnam since 2019, the scheme provided a grant to support smallholders as part of a plantation improvement programme, eventually leading to certification of the supply chain.

“It helps set up seed materials for producing seedlings for cutting, given smallholders expertise in using the right techniques for planting,” Dr Tan Phuong said before adding that paper and packaging organisers help smallholders with “site management, seedling production, plantation management, low impact logging and water soil conservation.”

Why Chain of Custody Matters

Chain of custody establishes the link from the forest to the market, tracking forest and tree-based products from sustainable sources to the final product. In addition, this standard includes management requirements, including health, safety, and labour issues.

For more information about forest certification, including the differences between PEFC and FSC, visit Wood Central’s special feature.


  • 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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