Yenra : Patio Furniture : Teak Patio Furniture : Try to research the source of the teak before purchasing

Teak Patio Furniture

Long-term sustainability is the most important consideration when selecting teak furniture. The Smart Wood Program can help you determine the source.

For example, the program announced the suspension of Perum Perhutani's teak plantation certificates. The suspension affects the forest districts of Cepu, Kebonharjo, Kendal, and Madiun. Originally certified by SmartWood in November 1990, Perum Perhutani is the principal plantation forestry operation on the island of Java, Indonesia. The suspension is based on the noncompliance of the certification conditions based on the FSC principles and criteria as well as the SmartWood standards. SmartWood believes that the long-term sustainability of the plantation resources is at a serious risk. The suspension is effective as of October 20th, 2001.

Perum Perhutani has undergone significant changes since its certification in 1990. Most recently, Perhutani changed from Perum (a public management company with a social mission) to PT (a state-owned private company). Perhutani manages approximately 2 million hectares (over 4.9 million acres) of plantations in 54 forest management districts (KPH), mostly in teak. At the time of the certification suspension, the FSC-certified districts comprised about 5% of the total area owned by the company.

SmartWood annual audits are conducted in cooperation with independent consulting auditors and local Indonesian NGO (nongovernmental organization) affiliates. The results from the most recent audit, which occurred in April 2001, will be publicly available on the SmartWood Web site in the next 15 days. The decision to suspend Perhutani's certificate is based on the audits of the four Perhutani management districts.

In countries all over the world, unsustainable commercial forestry operations are adversely affecting both biological and social environments. Poor management of forests often results in unsustainable exploitation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and threats to local communities' economic future. FSC certification is an effective and practical tool to combat these problems and grant recognition to those companies, forest landowners, and communities that are managing their forests responsibly.

Perhutani's challenges with certification have been well documented. Initially, all of the company's forest operations on Java were certified. In 1996 and 1997, however, it was decided that certifications would only be granted at the forest district level, due to inconsistent performance among KPHs in the Perhutani system. The first three KPHs certified by SmartWood under the FSC system (Cepu, Mantingan, and Kebonharjo) were granted in November 1998. In April 2000, two additional teak KPHs (Madiun and Kendal) and one pine KPH (Lawu D/S) were certified. In September 2000, KPH Mantingan was suspended. At this time, the suspension has been extended to cover all of the active Perhutani teak certificates.

In conjunction with the certification of teak plantations, the first SmartWood/FSC chain-of-custody (CoC) certificates were issued in the fall of 1998 and early 1999 to factories predominantly producing teak garden furniture for export to European and U.S. markets. Chain-of-custody certification is a system that tracks certified wood from forest floor to sales floor, assuring consumers that the FSC-labeled products they buy were produced with certified wood.

Since 1998, SmartWood CoC assessments have taken place on a monthly basis (excluding the period from spring 1999 until fall 1999, when SmartWood curtailed assessments until it could be proven that the then-certified supply was reaching certified CoC companies). As distribution channels for certified wood have improved, and with the implementation of the SmartWood policy that any company applying for CoC certification had to demonstrate possession of certified teak prior to granting of the certificate, CoC assessment activity resumed in November 1999.

Thirty-six companies with FSC chain-of-custody certification will be directly affected by Perhutani's certificate suspension because they make teak garden furniture and rely on Perhutani as their main certified teak log or lumber source. Given the suspension as well as the increased market demand for certified teak, SmartWood has been proactively working to link these CoC operations with teak suppliers in Latin America, Trinidad, Ghana, and India. "There are other certified operations that can provide a supply of woods for outdoor furniture -- teak and other species -- within the FSC system, and SmartWood is making a proactive effort to identify alternative operations worldwide that might fill the supply gap in the future," said Rainforest Alliance Chief of Forestry Richard Z. Donovan.

As certified teak is in extremely high demand and the supply is already low, companies that have committed to providing the consumer with FSC-certified products will feel the impact of this decision. "We are extremely sensitive to the disruption the suspension will represent to our clients," said Jeff Hayward, SmartWood's Asia Pacific regional manager. "However, the integrity and assurance of the FSC logo and trademark is critical. For that reason, SmartWood froze issuing new CoC certificates to teak-dependent companies, because we could not in good faith issue such certificates when we had evidence that, at the source, Perhutani was not meeting the requirements of certification."

"The failure to meet certification requirements will seriously jeopardize the future of teak forests in Indonesia. LATIN fully supports the SmartWood decision to suspend Perhutani certificate," said Dwi Muhtaman of LATIN, the Rainforest Alliance's longstanding collaborator on SmartWood certification initiatives in Indonesia. Despite this suspension, SmartWood will continue seeking out suitable forests to receive certification as well as continuing its commitment to bringing certified wood products to the marketplace.

SmartWood, based in Richmond, Vermont, is the sustainable forestry program of the Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit organization that works to protect endangered ecosystems and the people and wildlife that live within them by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.