Sunday, July 18, 2010

Helveta to assist Cameroon Gov’t track illegal logging

By Nke Valentine - According to a Press release of June 16, 2010 the Government of Cameroon is introducing a new wood tracking system to protect and support the country's timber industry - and enable exports to continue to the EU. This initiative is supported by Helveta a UK based provider of CI World, supply chain intelligence software for forestry, food and extractive industries.

Map the location of individual standing trees
“Today we have announced that the government of Cameroon will be using our wood tracking system to prevent illegal wood logging - and enable exports to continue to the EU,” states Bridget Fishleigh an official of the company, in an email to our Amsterdam desk. She further revealed in the mail that trials will start shortly and national deployment anticipated in 2011. “We will map the location of individual standing trees in the forest. After harvest, we will track the wood products derived from them through the supply chain, therefore validating the legal provenance of the wood at export,” she said.

Forest Law Enforcement
The release further reveals that 80% of Cameroon’s sawn timber is exported to the European Union. In response to growing concerns about the damage caused by illegal logging, the EU has a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. The main requirement is that all countries exporting wood to the EU must operate a national timber legality assurance system, seen as a key tool to reducing illegal logging.

Wood tracing system
The Government of Cameroon will be using a wood tracing system from a company called Helveta to comply with FLEGT rules. Trials in several timber supply chains will start shortly and national deployment anticipated in 2011. Helveta’s technology will be used to map the location of individual standing trees in the forest and, following harvest, to track the wood products derived from them through the supply chain, therefore validating the legal provenance of the wood at export.

Strict criteria
With such strict criteria in place for exports, the Ministère des Fôrets et de la Faune (MINFOF) is planning to significantly reduce the market for illegal Cameroonian timber and will be able to remove any identified illegal material from the supply chain using Helveta’s CI World forest management and traceability platform.

Third and latest country
Cameroon is the third and latest country to sign a FLEGT VPA with the EU (which it did on the 6th May 2010), after Ghana and the Republic of Congo. Ghana has also selected Helveta’s CI World as the underlying technology for its national wood tracking system. At present, about 80 percent of Cameroon’s sawn timber output is exported to the EU, and the FLEGT VPA will provide Cameroon with a gateway to US$362m[i] of potential timber exports to EU countries.

Necessary transparency
Patrick Newton, CEO of Helveta, stated, “Cameroon, in addition to Ghana, has now selected CI World to provide the necessary transparency and governance for their timber supply chains. This validates Helveta’s position as the chain of custody and legality assurance platform of choice for countries looking to demonstrate compliance and control across their timber supply chains and secure access to premium markets in the EU and US.” He added, “As environmental policy and regulation becomes an increasing priority on all national agendas, we expect to see private industry making use of technologies like CI World to source legally assured timber and avoid procuring unlawful material, in response to both legislation and consumer demand.”

Congo, Amazon and in South East Asia
CI World is currently being used to monitor in excess of 2.7 m hectares of forest across the Congo and Amazon basins and in South East Asia. Helveta is the UK based provider of CI World, supply chain intelligence software for forestry, food and extractive industries. CI World is a unique technology platform providing fully auditable traceability and chain of custody control for global supply chains. The Company was founded in 2004 and operates worldwide.This company should not be confused with the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance which later became Helvetas.


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