Driving environmental certification: Its impact on the furniture and timber products value chain in South Africa

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In this new globalised era there is an increasing demand in the developed world for environmental certification (Forestry Stewardship Council) of furniture and timber products. The imposition of this requirement has major implications for producers in developing countries. This paper examines this issue from a value chain perspective, exploring how certification requirements are driven through the links of the global furniture value chain. It does so by focusing on the dynamic underlying the spread of FSC certification through the furniture and timber industry in South Africa, and investigates the role of the various organisational ‘drivers’ of the system. In doing so it explores how developing country firms relate to these opportunities and pressures, drawing out the logistical implications, the costs and benefits, as well as the future for FSC certification. It concludes with a discussion of the role of buyers, agents, certification agencies and manufacturers in driving FSC certification through the wood products value chain in South Africa.