Comparability of LEI and FSC
Several studies have compared LEI and FSC Certification schemes. In 1999-2003, during the implementation of Joint Certification Program between LEI dan FSC in Indonesia, the program had conducted a comparability study, stated that LEI’s criteria and indicators are comparable and compatible to FSC principles. In Joint Certification Program, forest management units that apply to certification are required to pass both systems. Heinrich and Prasetyo (2007) have used the FCAG platform to compare FSC and LEI. Forest Certification Assessment Guide (FCAG), is a scheme developed by WWF/World Bank Global Forest Alliance (2007) to assess certification schemes. It has 11 criteria of assessment and lead to three main points: compatibility of the system to international standard, development of the certification system, and consistency in the implementation procedures of certification and accreditation. Adding to that, ITTO has also developed study comparing major certification schemes in the World who was undertaken by Simula and Purbawiyatna (2007). The study compared the schemes through assessment of the following points: accreditation, system development processes and history, scope and processes in certification, content of the standard, decision-making processes, and analysis of CoC certification. Both studies find that LEI and FSC are very much comparable. The summary of the findings are presented below :
LEI’s Recognition and Market Acceptancce
As market instrument certification needs market recognition. Credibility without communication and engagement with markets will mean nothing to certificate holders. LEI has developed vast network internationally especially with those in the consuming countries. The cooperation is to bring presence of LEI to the world, as well as to learn what the world wants from a certification system, and how to improve it. For that reasons LEI cooperated with UN University, Institute of Global Environmental Services (IGES) in studying community based forest management certification and introducing it to the academic fora. With Friends of the Earth Japan, LEI introduced the products of certified community forests to Japanese market. The market responds well. With two leading associations in Japan, Japan Forest Technology Association (JAFTA) and Japan Lumber Inspection Association (JLIRA), LEI improve the CoC certification through studies and introduction of better tracking technologies. Combined with other communication with buyers, government and NGOs in Japan, LEI presence there is recognized in the Green Procurement Policy of Japan (Green Ko Nyuho). Buyers in Japan also requires Indonesian pulp and paper exporter to have LEI certification.
In other areas, penetration of LEI labeled products has touched major market in Europe and the US as well. LEI certified furniture from Indonesia has been recognized as SFM certified products by chain of retailers such as Maison du Monde chain (in 246 stores in Belgium, French, Italy and Spain), Sasu’s Playhouse in Finland, and Pottery Barn in the US. For Maison du Monde, accepting LEI certified products is proof of their commitment in promoting sustainability and helping eradicate poverty of the small forest growers in Indonesia. LEI certification has shaped the Indonesian furniture to go green.
Enjoying the benefit of LEI certificate from business and from government (through important regulatory waivers) forest management units in Indonesia are very encouraged to be certified. The development of certified areas are promising, and a drastic increased has been achieved, from only 90,000 hectares certified forest, to become more than 1.6 million hectares certified forests in less than 4 years.
LEI in Indonesia: Beyond Certification
When LEI transformed itself to become Constituency Based Organization (CBO), it reached its important milestone, and it proved the continuous and strong supports of all Indonesian forestry stakeholders. LEI is the first organization in Indonesia to employ the constituency based system, and continuously work in the multi stakeholders context of governance. It augments the mandate and credibility of LEI very much.
As mandated by the members, LEI is to promote sustainable, fair and just natural resources management through among others, and most importantly, certification system. LEI has carried out the mandate through the establishment of credible certification systems and through other relevant and important activities. Such activities are development of the national capacities (personnel, institutions and mechanism) to implement Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). In doing so, LEI has developed training for assessors, facilitated the development of Timber Legality Verification System (at par with EU requirement of TLAS for Voluntary Partnership Agreement). LEI also helped improving the government’s mandatory SFM verification system through improvement of the personnel involved. LEI also increasingly has more and more important role in the improvement of forestry governance through its interaction with various organizations in the country. As a result, government recognition to LEI is significantly increasing, and reflected in the presence of significant policy waivers for LEI certified forest management. Through its interaction with government and other institutions LEI has been the center of many improvement of Indonesian forestry governance.
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The complete reports of the studies are available to download: