More than one billion of the world’s poorest people are dependent to some extent on forest resources for their survival. Their poverty is rarely the result of limited resources: many of these same forests make a major contribution to local, national and regional economies in other parts of the world. Rather, it often derives from a combination of bad forest management, weak governance and unfair income distribution. Through improving management and governance, and making sure the benefits derived from forests are shared more equitably, forest certification potentially offers an important tool to help lift many millions of people out of poverty.
This paper examines the way in which forest certification, in particular according to the Forest Stewardship Council Principles & Criteria (FSC P&C), has contributed to poverty alleviation, and discusses what can be done to increase its impact.