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Overcoming poverty with FSC
Ignacio Pinto (Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TECHO’s headquarters)

1. Why is the FSC General Assembly an important part of the FSC governance system?
As TECHO, we see the General Assembly as an important opportunity to provide ways and information of how to contribute to the global strategy of FSC, based on our experience and different ways of working.

zoom (© FSC A.C.) © FSC A.C.This contribution, in our opinion, is going to guide our role as participants, providing a different voice in the strategic decisions of FSC.

2. In your opinion, what have been FSC’s major achievements in the past 20 years?

As organization, we see that FSC has been a major player in the promotion of societies that value a sustainable environment, and it works toward the incorporation of this objective into its work. Governments, companies and social organizations are part of that multi-disciplinary network which is encouraging processes to preserve our future.

3. Why are forests so important and what does “certified by FSC” mean to you and your organization?

FSC allows us to be coherent with this work model, promoting the development of an emergency housing programme that includes concern for the environment and which is part of TECHO’s production chain.
It is estimated that by 2050, about 70 percent of the population will be settled in urban areas. Today, we face the challenge not only to provide sustainable growth for those who live in the big cities, in order to provide them the basis to successfully satisfy their rights, but also, we must ensure that this process is in accordance with the protection of the environment.

As an organization that gathers different actors and perspectives, we also have the role of promoting to our stakeholders the importance of environmental concern as a component that adds value to the production chain.

Finally, as citizens and members of TECHO, we assume the responsibility of not only today’s important problems, such as overcoming poverty, but also of promoting this to the future generations, since one of our basic values is solidarity.

4. What else needs to be done to responsibly manage forests?

In TECHO, we think it is important to encourage a shared view of the importance of protecting ecosystem for the generations to come. This is valid not only for the companies and the parties involved directly in the exploitation, but also for those who wish to benefit from an environment that enables them to fully develop as persons and citizens.

The correct and responsible management of our forests allows the development of our societies, which ensures this full achievement of our human rights.

5. Where do you see FSC 20 years from now?

We hope that it will face plenty of competition! Actually, we hope that society as a whole will be demanding this certification and be concerned about the exploitation process of our forests; we hope that more entities will be interested in encouraging it.

We hope that FSC will by then be a global demand not just within the industry but also among final customers.

6. Why is it so important to invest in forests, and how do you think we can maximize social and environmental returns?

In the long run, sustainability benefits all. If we maximize utility today by damaging the environment, the cost of forest exploitation would have a reverse effect in the short run if we do not start to take measures. We have to see the responsible exploitation of resources as a more successful way in order to keep our “lungs” functioning as a globalized world.

7. How can we orient the market toward more ethical and long-term paybacks?

Today, we have to change the perspective of sustainability to a value that does not represent a drastic change in final costs of exploitation. Saying this, the minimization of the cost of certification is an important step so that those working directly in the industry can understand it and adapt to it in their production chains.

In this sense, the key is to understand that the benefit of protecting the forests goes beyond purchase and sale, since they provide social benefits to secure a good quality of life for future generations.

Another important point is the impact on the different stakeholders, as society as a whole, so they understand the importance of the return in the long run. One measure could be, for example, to add content about the importance of caring for the environment to the curriculum in schools.

8. What is your opinion of a zero-net Sustainable Development Goal for deforestation by 2030?

Today, we are suffering from some of the most direct consequences of deforestation – droughts, devastating climate phenomena – and it is exactly the vulnerable communities that suffer the worst consequences, due to their lack of supporting networks.

Today, goals exist which we agreed on and which consist of necessities and the achievement and claim for our human rights. TECHO’s perspective on poverty is based on its focus on rights, since we believe that everybody deserves to benefit from the possibility to fully exploit his/her capacities. Although our work is linked directly to the development of the right for an adequate habitat, we consider that deforestation – and the consequences it brings – is a preoccupation we must not ignore.