News  |  25.03.2021

ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council, common issues for the future of tropical timber

The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.

ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council, common issues for the future of tropical timber

Established in 1992, the Malaysian Timber Council aims to meet several objectives : to promote trade in Malaysian tropical timber, to develop the global market for timber products, to develop the timber industry by enhancing the value of its production chain, to increase the supply of raw materials for the timber processing industry, to provide information to the timber industry, and to improve the credibility of the Malaysian timber industry globally.

Effective collaboration between ATIBT and MTC could certainly be beneficial to the tropical timber industry as a whole. The MTC has delegations in various countries, including the United States and China.

While tropical wood in Europe suffers from a negative image, the two organizations have the common goal of positioning tropical wood as an ecological and responsible material when it comes from sustainable and verified sources.

The ATIBT praises the efforts of the MTC to improve the image of tropical wood for several years. This is in line with ATIBT's actions to demonstrate to public decision-makers and consumers in Europe that some forest operators are committed to sustainable management of forest resources, and that these operators, full-fledged actors in the preservation of tropical basins, should not be associated with bad practices.

Both organizations also agree that the existence of these virtuous operators should not diminish vigilance on the issue of illegal timber trade. ATIBT and MTC agreed that the fight against illegal timber must be intensified.

It would be useful to join the efforts of the ATIBT and the MTC to show the European consumer that consuming tropical wood from a responsible practice contributes to the conservation of tropical forests, by giving them economic value to the political decision-makers of the producing countries. Let's not forget the importance of understanding what is behind sustainable forest management, beyond the purely economic aspect: in some producing countries, the forestry sector is a huge provider of employment for the population. However, European buyers often forget the beneficial economic, social and environmental role of the timber industry in tropical countries. 

Uniting the voices of the ATIBT and the MTC would amplify the scope of these awareness messages on the role of sustainable management of tropical forests.

In addition, common objectives are emerging, such as the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, whose organization has banned tropical wood from the construction of the Olympic village, which reminds us of the urgency of effective communication on the material of tropical wood from sustainable sources.

Concretely, the MTC could share with the ATIBT a work to support the consumption of tropical wood from sustainable sources in Europe, pool its knowledge on certain market issues to act jointly in a stronger and more structured way.

The joint organization of conferences, seminars and symposiums could also participate in this collaboration.

A collaboration between the ATIBT and the MTC would certainly bring actors of the wood industry in Malaysia to better know the Congo Basin and its stakes, and why not contribute to the improvement of the wood industry, at a crucial moment when the intensification of wood processing, the development of dedicated zones in different countries of the Congo Basin, and the prohibition of the export of logs in different countries is on the agenda.