Why certify forests with mpingo?

Once communities have secured rights and control over their forests, they can begin identifying and engaging with income generating opportunities that will provide benefits directly to the communities themselves.  And getting a fair price for forest products, such as timber, is critical if communities are to reap maximum benefits from their forests. Illegal logging is widespread in south-eastern Tanzania (>90% of timber from the region) and competition from unregulated sources prevents communities from realising the true value of their timber.

Forest certification allows one to securely label forest products as having been legally felled from well managed forests, and thus to differentiate them from other products from less ethically managed sources. Forest certification also includes a system to monitor the supply chain by which a log is turned into a finished product. If, and only if, every company along the supply chain holds a Chain of Custody certificate from the certificate issuing authority, then the final product can also be certified, and consumers can be confident that the product they are buying contains no uncertified wood.

Thus in the case of mpingo used to make musical instruments we need the following organisations to hold CoC certificates from FSC in order for musicians to be able to buy FSC-certified instruments and thus rural communities in Tanzania to maximise the value of the timber in their forests.

  • Village managing the forest
  • Logging company / sawmill
  • International timber dealer
  • Instrument manufacturer

Getting this whole supply chain organised together is something of a challenge!