Course participants Elie Olivier Ngoa Yakam and Benjamin Tchoffo were pleased to recognise certified legal and sustainable wood from their home country of Cameroon at the James Latham wood depot in Dudley, West Midlands.
The Improving Forest Governance course is run by the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University’s Telford Campus.
Elie and Benjamin said they were “very proud” to hear from James White, the Depot Manager, that James Latham wants to buy a lot more certified timber from Cameroon, even though it is more expensive than non-certified wood.
Des Mahony, Principal Lecturer/Consultant from CIDT, said: “If UK timber buyers like James Latham can buy at a fair price from genuinely well managed legal tropical timber suppliers, then this goes a long way towards making timber trading fairer, environmentally more sustainable and respectful of the rights of vulnerable forest dependent communities.”
During the visit, James White explained that James Latham aims to extend its range of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified hardwoods for which there is a strong demand, particularly for joinery products of doors, windows and flooring.
Elie, a forest engineer manager and auditor, explained that he had contributed to the ‘WIJMA Douala Sarl’ forest management unit acquiring the first FSC certificate in Cameroon in 2005.
Benjamin, a forestry researcher, confirmed the ‘Idigbo’ wood on sale at the James Latham depot is from Cameroonian FSC certified forests. He had personally worked on the process of certification by carrying out Environmental and Social Impact Assessments of the forests through CARFAD, a Cameroonian non-government organisation (NGO).
Benjamin added he was keen to put the company in touch with a federation of 27 community forests of East Cameroon, where indigenous peoples are dependent on income from legal forest harvesting and where these community forests are in the process of obtaining FSC certification.
Photo left to right: Elie Olivier Ngoa Yakam , Benjamin Tchoffo, James White, the Idigbo certified tropical timber
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