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  • Context (IE | PIB): The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has launched the Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme (IFWCS).
  • This voluntary third-party certification scheme includes:
    1. Forest management certification
    2. Tree outside forest management certification
    3. Chain of custody certification
  • IFWCS will offer market rewards to compliant entities. This includes:
    • State forest departments
    • Individual farmers or farmer producer organisations engaged in agroforestry & farm forestry
    • Wood-based industries in the value chain
  • It is based on the Indian Forest Management Standard, an integral part of the National Working Plan Code 2023.
  • It will be overseen by the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Council, which will act as a multistakeholder advisory body.
  • The Council is represented by members from:
    1. Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education
    2. Forest Survey of India
    3. Quality Council of India
    4. Indian Institute of Forest Management
    5. Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW)
    6. Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI)
    7. State Forest Departments
    8. Forest Development Corporations
    9. Representatives from wood-based industries
  • Its operating agency will be the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal.
  • The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies, under the Quality Council of India, will accredit certification bodies to independently audit and assess entities’ adherence to prescribed standards in the scheme.

Significance of the IFWCS

  • Promotes sustainable forest management and agroforestry: It incentivises responsible forest management and agroforestry by rewarding compliant industries.
  • Address global deforestation and illegal timber trade concerns: The “national” forest certification scheme will validate sustainable forest management entities.
  • Alternative to the private foreign certification agencies: Concerns about the credibility of foreign certifications have affected the acceptance of Indian products in global markets and led to a high dropout rate among certified entities.
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