Switch to Sustainable Rattan



Posted on 16 April 2011  | 
Healthy environment provides a safety habitat to biodiversity and people in this region
© David Hulse/WWF-CanonEnlarge
“The Mekong region will soon deliver the first FSC certifies rattan” said Ms Sabine Gisch Boie, WWF’s Rattan Project Manager. “Few people know about incredible and beneficial material for both people and environment if produced, processed, and traded in the smarter way. Unfortunately deforestation and over-harvesting are leading to declining rattan in the wild”.

The Mekong region is one of the most diverse places on the planet. More than 1,000 new species have been discovered within the last 10 years. Laos and Vietnam are the only homes to endemic mammal Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and a myriad of various species. Now this place is threatened by unsustainable human practices, over-extraction of natural resources, wildlife trade, infrastructure, and the devastating impacts of climate change.

In the Mekong region rattan plays an important role in creating job opportunities and income for local communities and rattan entrepreneurs. Up to 50 per cent of the cash income of communities derives from selling rattan handicraft products.

Unsustainable harvest of rattan leads to forest degradation and affects overall forest ecosystem. The use of toxic chemicals and petrol in the processing of rattan does not affects only soil, air and water resources, but also people’s health.

To ensure good forest management in the Mekong region and to address the great potential of rattan, it is necessary to change the current ways of production into a more sustainable long-term approach.

To achieve this, WWF is implementing the project “Establishing a Sustainable Production System for Rattan Products in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam”. To ensure responsible forest management credible forest certification (Forest Stewardship Council) is implemented. WWF and its partner Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC) support rattan companies to make their production more sustainable through Cleaner Production techniques.

WWF is working with local communities and the government of Laos to get more than 1,200 ha of rattan forest certified in Khamkeut District, Laos.

In Vietnam, the project is working with more than 33 rattan companies that have been committed to engage with cleaner and more sustainable production.

“Our goal is to keep our material sources everlasting, that’s why we think that the idea to develop a green supply chain is simply great and we are trying to establish a cooperation with companies in Laos, member of this project, that are going to produce for the first time ever controlled and sustainable rattan,” said Mr. Le Thai Tinh, Vinh Long JSC’s Sales Director.

Besides sustainability key factors for access to global markets are quality and design.

WWF has engaged with Swedish designers from Lund University to improve rattan product design, encourage ecological design and to build local design capacities in order to meet global market requirements.

The WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme receives 80 percent of the programme’s total budget of € 2.4 million from the EU SWITCH-Asia Programme of the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation. SWITCH-Asia aims at scaling-up environmentally friendly production and consumption practices. The Sustainable Rattan Programme is successfully serving this purpose by reaching-out to all actors along the rattan value chain and encouraging certification. IKEA co-finances the WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme.

Healthy environment provides a safety habitat to biodiversity and people in this region
© David Hulse/WWF-Canon Enlarge
Involvement of community in rattan supply chain helps improvement on FSC and CoC approach.
© N.Promsouvanh Enlarge
New designs provide an opportunity for local rattan companies to draw European market interest.
© Claire Grigaut Enlarge

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