FSC® and Fairtrade Certified Wood
September 22 was the dedication ceremony for the reopening of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI), an international training center for sustainable agriculture, community development and leadership, in Nasushiobara, Tochigi-ken in northeastern Japan.
The ARI center was rebuilt in 2012 after being hit by the devastating Japanese earthquakes in March 2011.
Remarkably, the ARI’s new premises feature the world’s first hardwood floor made from FSC and Fairtrade certified wood, manufactured by Swedish Kährs and originating from a pilot project for sustainable forestry in Chile.
In August 2011, Kährs received a request from Mr. Suguru Matsuki, responsible for the Wakachiai Project, an NGO with strong links to Fairtrade in Japan. This organization has been working hard to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, including distribution of Fairtrade branded products, such as bananas, pineapples and soybeans to the needy. Suguru saw the opportunity to support yet another Fairtrade initiative, hardwood flooring, made from FSC and Fairtrade certified wood from Chile, for the reconstruction of the ARI in Japan.
At the time of Suguru’s contact, Kährs had just received the first container of certified wood from Chile. The dual certification of raw material is a joint pilot project between the FSC and Fairtrade to help small-scale farmers and forest wood producers with access to the market, while ensuring that they receive a fair price for their products. In 2011, as part of its CSR efforts, Kährs began to develop sustainable flooring made of wood from the project.
With many thanks for Suguru’s passion the Asian Rural Institute is the first location in the world installing this historically important hardwood flooring. Wood originating from a small-scale forestry in Chile that, in accordance with the project’s purpose, has been given access to a larger market at a fair price. Wood that is contributing to poverty reduction and restoring forest biodiversity while promoting sustainable development.