SHANGHAI (Apr. 22, 2016) – It’s no secret that China’s overseas investment is increasing rapidly and consistently expanding. In the wake of this economic development, however, lie several problems including deforestation, which is caused both by infrastructure projects and timber trade.
Several developed nations have implemented a proactive Forest Law and Governance tool for monitor timber export and imports, for example, the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) which aims to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, among other things. However, until recently China lacked similar means for its international forest law enforcement, despite Chinese industry’s impact on forests.
In late April 2016, representatives from over 30 Chinese organizations met in Shanghai to launch the China Responsible Forest Product Trade and Investment Alliance which will be a platform for information sharing as well as a database.
Members of the Alliance will utilize its platform to discuss best practices, new policies, market developments in green forestry products, as well as host dialogue exchanges. The Alliance seeks to be inclusive and useful for its variety of participants. In fact, government organizations, private sector groups and NGOs, including GEI, were all involved in the Alliance’s development.
The creation of the alliance comes as a mechanism to improve China’s forestry research so to be more forward-looking and for forestry policies to incorporate preventative actions and measures.
The China Responsible Forest Trade and Investment Alliance representatives – GEI 2016
In addition to establishing the new Alliance, the representatives in Shanghai discussed the US-China Working Group for Forest, Climate, Finance and Investment. This group involves the US State Department, US Forest Service as well as several Chinese government, non-government and corporate groups. This working group’s main focus in Shanghai was how to take into account greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions potentially attributed to forestry-related investment into finance and investment decisions.
The experts present compared the US and Chinese system, with some advocating that China required a specifically robust forest investment government policy. The Working Group meets quarterly and even has trips planned to the US to continue discussions.
About GEI’s Overseas Investment, Trade and the Environment Program
GEI’s Overseas Investment, Trade and the Environment Program is deeply invested in China’s Forestry concerns and policy development. In addition to our work in curtailing the illegal timber trade between Myanmar and China, we have been analyzing the discrepancy between China-Africa timber export and import data over the past year. In addition, we published the two guidelines for Chinese corporations on sustainable overseas forest management: A Guide on Sustainable Overseas Silviculture by Chinese Enterprises (2008) and A Guide on Sustainable Overseas Forest Management and Utilization by Chinese Enterprises (2009). This Alliance is a critical step in strengthening China’s domestic forestry management and international forestry policy.