Voluntary certification schemes, which ensure timber production meets higher standards than those requested by the law, have been lauded as a way to improve social conditions. So, in the Congo Basin – where some 4.8 million hectares of forest are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – CIFOR’s researchers set out to investigate the claims.
The results were clear. Driven by higher standards, FSC certified forests offer better living and working conditions than those that are noncertified. Results have been delivered worldwide, and international organizations such as FSC and WWF are using the data to improve the current standards and possibly enhance even more socio-economic conditions in the forests of the Congo basin.