The Forests Dialogue Secretariat
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The Forests Dialogue
The last few years have seen the proliferation of forest product certification on international and national scales. Until recently, the systems for certifying these products stood fully apart from one another, with little communication about lessons learned or assessment of strategies. Seeking to facilitate the sharing of this information, TFD convened a series of dialogues from 2002 to 2004.
This Dialogue focused on the creation of market conditions that encourage informed choices concerning the acceptability of the increasing growing forest certification systems in the marketplace.
TFD organized and sponsored a meeting for the 6 CEO’s from the leading forest certification systems (ATFS, CSA, FSC, MTCC, PEFC, SFI). The meeting occurred at the London office of IIED. This was the first such informal session organized strictly for the system CEOs themselves to discusses forest certification systems.
In 2002, TFD convened its first meeting on forest certification in Geneva. This dialogue brought together, for the first time, the CEOs and lead supporters of the 5 "mature" certification systems (FSC, PEFC, CSA, SFI & ATFS). That dialogue produced a consensus among major certification system executives and many of their key system proponents that multiple forest certification systems will continue to exist. The dialogue also focused on the concept of "legitimacy", or how different stakeholders perceived the credibility of "their" particular system compared to others. The meeting launched a process for more frequent contacts between system leaders. And, it catalyzed the development of the Legitimacy Thresholds Model (LTM) concept by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), aimed at establishing an independent assessment framework based on transparent criteria for different thresholds of legitimacy and objective evaluation methodologies.