WWF’s Rattan Program is linking sustainability to responsibility



Posted on 18 April 2011  | 
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Deforestation and over-harvesting of rattan is threatening local livelihoods and the environment. The WWF Rattan Program works towards sustainable natural rattan forest production and cleaner processing techniques bringing benefits to rattan companies and communities in the Mekong region. This project and new rattan product designs will be presented this week at the Vietnam LifeStyle Trade Fair in Ho Chi Minh City.

The WWF Sustainable Rattan Program is implemented in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam together with communities, the private sector and the governments towards securing a responsible rattan supply chain. WWF works closely with villagers, entrepreneurs, government agencies and its national partners to improve the current rattan production systems. The objective is to ensure a future supply of rattan and to avoid negative impacts on people and the environment.

Today, the market trend is changing and consumers are starting to demand sustainability; certified rattan according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures responsible forest management. FSC certification provides the most credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, making it possible for people to choose products that benefit communities and forests.

The Rattan Program is supporting local communities and the government of Laos to get more than 1,200 hectares of rattan forest certified in Khamkeut District, Laos. ”This is going to be the world’s first FSC rattan certification,” said Ms Sabine Gisch-Boie, WWF’s Rattan Program Manager.

Besides sustainable forest management, WWF works with local companies in the region to implement Cleaner Production techniques at the rattan factories as the current use of toxic chemicals and petrol in the processing of rattan affects soil, air and water resources as well as people’s health.

The get access to the global market, sustainability, quality, and design are important factors. The rattan entrepreneurs in this region have to adapt to the changing market demand and requirements in order to be able to compete internationally.

“The rattan product designs from the Greater Mekong need to improve in order to be able to compete with China, Indonesia, and Malaysia,” said Ms Sabine Gisch-Boie. Therefore WWF has been engaging Swedish designers to work with rattan entrepreneurs in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in order to improve local design capacities.

The WWF Sustainable Rattan Program is co-funded by the EU SWITCH-Asia Program of the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation, which aims at scaling-up environmentally friendly production and consumption practices.

This collection aims to promote the use of less material, waste material and no-chemical rattan material to motivate entrepreneurs and end-users to live with sustainability
© Claire Grigaut Enlarge

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