India Takes a Step Towards Sustainable Forestry with New Certification Scheme

India Takes a Step Towards Sustainable Forestry with New Certification Scheme

The Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change has introduced the Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme, aimed at fostering sustainable forest management and agroforestry practices across the nation. This voluntary certification initiative comprises forest management, tree outside forest management, and chain of custody certifications.

The scheme is designed to incentivize entities, such as state forest departments, individual farmers, and Farmer Producer Organizations involved in agroforestry, as well as wood-based industries throughout the value chain, to adopt responsible forest management practices. By adhering to the certification standards, these entities can gain market advantages.

Forest Management certification, aligned with the Indian Forest Management Standard, integrates eight criteria, 69 indicators, and 254 verifiers, forming an integral part of the recently launched National Working Plan Code 2023. Additionally, the Trees Outside Forests Standard has been introduced as part of the newly unveiled Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme.

The oversight of the scheme falls under the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Council, acting as a multistakeholder advisory body. Members include representatives from notable institutions like the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Forest Survey of India, Quality Council of India, Indian Institute of Forest Management, and delegates from the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Commerce and Industry, State Forest Departments, Forest Development Corporations, and wood-based industries.

The Indian Institute of Forest Management in Bhopal will serve as the operating agency for the scheme, overseeing its comprehensive management. The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies, under the Quality Council of India, will accredit certification bodies responsible for conducting independent audits to assess adherence to the prescribed standards within the scheme.