The APAC region has experienced exponential growth in the CoC certificates over the past five years. From 2012-2017, the number of CoC certificates has grown from 5,538 to 10,077, accounting for about 82% increase and an average year-on-year (YoY) growth of 13% — approximately equivalent to gaining 900 new CoC certificates each year. It is a remarkable growth that outpaced the APAC regional economic growth over the same period, which the growth rate for the latter was between 5.3 percent and 5.7 percent.

The country that has the highest net increase in the actual number of CoC certificates is China. The 3,032 certificates gained account for 67% of the total increase in CoC certificates in the Asia Pacific region. Vietnam comes second with a 285 net increase in certificates, followed by Hong Kong (185), India (141) and Japan (96).

The country that has the highest YoY growth is Thailand (25%), followed by China (20%), Sri Lanka (19%), Vietnam (16%) and the Philippines (15%). The top three product types that see the highest increase in CoC certificates are Paperboard/packaging, Paper, and Furniture, which China had a staggering growth of 224%, 182% and 179% in these three categories respectively.

Adam Beaumont, the interim director of FSC in Asia Pacific region, says the increasing awareness of corporate social responsibility benefits the robust growth in certification. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen an increasing number of brand owners and large national and multi-national businesses include responsible sourcing of forest products in their procurement policy, FSC by far is the most popular scheme to use because of its credibility and global recognition,” he continues. “As a result, FSC certification has become a must-have ‘ticket’ for manufacturers looking to join the unbroken supply chains that can produce FSC labelled products.”

Beaumont also anticipates that Southeast Asian (SEA) countries will be picking up the strong growth after China. “While China is still the World’s Factory, we see a ‘Factory Asia’ emerging, where countries from Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam, India are more involved in the global supply chains. These countries show impressive growth in FSC certified businesses,” he further explains. “A lot of Southeast Asia countries are looking to grow export volumes into European markets looking for responsibly sourced forest products, particularly furniture. Having FSC certification helps companies meet compliance and timber legality requirements in Europe, such as European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), where FSC certification forms a key part of a company’s due diligence.”