Forest Management and Certification
We are working to obtain sustainable forest management certification for Mitsui's Forests.
Forest certification is issued based on assessments regarding whether certain criteria, including environmental, economic, and social aspects, are met concerning forest management processes. The spread of such certification prevents unregulated deforestation, preserves healthy forests, and helps protect the global environment. Two systems that are widely used throughout the world are FSC® certification and PEFC certification. While Japan has its own SGEC certification system, the SGEC and PEFC certifications have been mutually recognized since 2016. Mitsui obtained SGEC Certification in 2006 and FSC® Certification in 2009 for all 44,000 hectares of Mitsui's forests. The following explanation focuses on the internationally recognized FSC® Certification. The acquisition of FSC® Certification based on international criteria verifies that forest management is conducted at an internationally high level.
The Aim of FSC® Certification
The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) awards FSC® certification to forests practicing responsible forest management that meets the objective standards of its forest certification program. To receive certification, a forest must adhere to 10 principles and 70 criteria covering a wide range of perspectives. The FSC® is an international non-profit organization that has the participation of stakeholders including environmental NGOs, private companies, and indigenous peoples' organizations. It works to promote the global spread of sustainable forest management that is appropriate in terms of environmental conservation, provides social benefits including respect for human rights, and is also economically viable.
Certification criteria focus not only on whether the forest manager is carrying out appropriate management from an economic standpoint, but also look at consideration for the environment, maintaining favorable relationships with regional communities near the forest and other factors. When Mitsui completed the certification procedures, a survey was given to stakeholders in our 74 forestlands across Japan. This survey confirmed that Mitsui and our subsidiary Mitsui Bussan Forest Co., Ltd., which manages the forestlands, have built a favorable relationship with all regional communities. Under the principle of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), we continually engage in dialogue with stakeholders.
Mitsui's Forests and FSC® Certification
Mitsui has received FSC® certification for all 74 of its forests and was the first private company in Japan possessing forests of 10,000 hectares or more to reach this milestone, and the certification of Mitsui's forests covers the largest area in Japan. Among the different types of FSC® certification, Mitsui has received Forest Management (FM) certification. At the same time, Mitsui Bussan Forest received Chain of Custody (CoC) certification for the processing and distribution of cut lumber. Mitsui is also the largest Japanese supplier of domestic FSC®-certified wood, which has led to a large supply of FSC®-certified wood from the forests of Mitsui being distributed throughout Japan.
As a member of the FSC organization in Japan, Mitsui cooperates in and contributes to various activities relating to the expansion of certification systems and their awareness-raising in Japan. We also served as a board member of FSC Japan, the incorporated NPO responsible for the management of the organization, until March 2018. Mitsui was also a member of organization's Economic Chamber, which revises the content of forest management standards developed by the FSC to reflect actual conditions in Japan. For around three years during that process, we have proactively cooperated in the task as a major forest owner, by stating comments and suggestions to reflect actual onsite conditions in the draft, as well as by implementing field tests in Mitsui's forests to verify the effectiveness of that draft.
Mitsui will strive to maintain forests based on the FSC®'s Forest Management Principles and Criteria, and also SGEC's Forest Management Certification Principles and Indicators.
The FSC trademark license code of Mitsui & Co.: FSC®C057355
The FSC trademark license code of Mitsui Bussan Forest: FSC® C031328
The commercialization process of FSC®-certified lumber