Equity & Equitable Access Issues in Forest Certification Systems & Other Accountability Tools

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Online seminar (via Zoom) – all welcome. NB – all times in UK time

Starting in the 1980’s, sustainability-oriented certification systems have been used as an accountability mechanism for forest managers and landowners (public and private) and for downstream markets (wholesalers, retailers, brands, etc.). Equity and equitable access present two separate but linked challenges for these systems. They also represent a challenge for non-certification accountability systems, like first- or second party reporting systems. On the equity side, what attempts have been made to develop tools that are respectful of equity issues such as resource rights, indigenous and customary tenure or technology, benefits to both workers, employers and directly affected communities. On the equitable side, how have these systems engaged, or not, with the full range of affected or involved actors, from small landowners to loggers to foresters, environmental or social NGOs, small and medium sized entrepreneurs.

Richard Zell Donovan (MSc Natural Resources Management, BA Latin American History & Romance Languages) is a forest and forestry specialist with 40+ years of experience in 50+ countries in tropical, temperate and boreal forests. For 27 years Richard served as SmartWood Director (for forest certification) and then Senior Vice President of Forestry at the Rainforest Alliance, and is now an independent forest advisor providing pro bono and paid technical support, a forest auditor and Founding Member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) & Forest Stewards Guild. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Guarani and has lived in the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Richard’s work has focused on accountability, certification, community forest enterprises, climate resilient forestry, biomass energy, forest ecosystem management (including strict protection, restoration and timber/NTFP harvesting), and innovation creating new approaches or tools for engaging with rural communities, landowners of all scales and indigenous peoples and loggers and forest, climate and agriculture-related certification.