Tuesday, 20 June 2006
FSC Trade Fair in Brazil

The second FSC Trade Fair in Brazil was held from April 18th to April 20th, 2006 in Sao Paulo. Several organizations partnered to put this event together including, FSC Brazil, Imazon and Imaflora.

An opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, April 18th with the Environment Minister, Marina Silva, of the Brazilian federal government in attendance. FSC certification has grown at a healthy pace over the past 10 years, and the trade fair highlighted this growth through market forums and a trade show floor.

The market forums were focused on connecting manufacturers of FSC-certified products to specific market opportunities. Topics discussed during these forums included corporate and governmental responsible wood purchasing, non-timber forest products, and creating a better understanding of market opportunities for furniture and gift manufacturers. Several hundred business people, representatives from environmental and social groups, and government agents attended these market forums to learn more about how they can connect business opportunities to current or potential companies providing FSC-certified products.

Outside the market forums, more than 50 booths clearly demonstrated the growth and diversity of the FSC market in Brazil. The exhibit floor was open to Paulistas (inhabitants of the state of Sao Paulo) to enter and learn about forest certification, the Forest Stewardship Council in Brazil, and find products that could meet a variety of needs. Companies exhibiting at the trade fair offered FSC-certified Erva Mate (tea), Copaiba oil (which has dozens of uses), building materials, paper, corporate gifts, furniture, homes built with FSC-certified building materials, and more. Exhibiting companies included both those that focus sales inside Brazil and those that export. An estimated 6,000 Paulistas meandered through the exhibits, asked questions, attended the market forums and advanced the marketplace for FSC-certified products to a new level in Brazil.

The need for FSC certification in Brazil is more important now than ever. According to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 2001 Global Biodiversity Outlook report, Brazil is home to some of the most diverse and significant ecosystems in the world that house between 10-20% of the world’s catalogued species. Even with all its biodiversity, Brazil is still struggling with a growing list of endangered and critically endangered species. Add to the struggle for lost biodiversity and land disputes that have caused more environmental degradation due to an evolving land ownership pattern, a forest certification program that works to balance environmental, social, and economic values may provide some positive answers. Considering the fact that the 2006 FSC Trade Fair was attended by representatives from 18 countries, it is quite clear that protecting the biodiversity of Brazil through a credible and well-balanced forest certification system is a global choice.