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Barama Company Limited (BCL) has secured what it on Thursday announced as the largest single block of tropical forest to be certified under the Verified Legal Origin (VLO) anywhere in the world.

The VLO is an international scheme which verifies that timber comes from a source that the harvester has a documented legal right to harvest, pursuant to the laws and regulations of the government of the jurisdiction. Suppliers of VLO timber must follow and maintain documented chain-of-custody systems.

“This is an accomplishment that has extremely positive implications for the forestry sector and the country as a whole. Guyana has once again placed itself on the world map for having internationally accepted forestry practices,” CEO Clement Ooi said at a media event.

He added that at the company level the VLO compliance brings greater value their stakeholders and particularly to customers.

Head of Forest Planning and Corporate Affairs Mohindra Chand noted that given the priority focus on the circulation of illegal timber primarily in the western world the VLO certification works to allay many of the fears customers may have.

“It’s similar to what you might know as blood diamonds, the consumers have a concern whether persons are being harmed, laws are being broken and the VLO gives that assurance to customers that you are buying timber from a source that is in compliance with all the requirements nationally and even meets international standards.

It’s not necessarily for us a market-driven initiative, it’s more towards sharing with our stakeholders that we are operating at a sustained and responsible level.”

BCL is the largest company in the forestry sector with some 1.6 million hectares in forest concession under its control. The VLO certification was carried out by Rainforest Alliance of the United States of America.

Also attending the event was Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud who congratulated the company on its achievement which he said should aid it with wider market access.

The minister also used the opportunity to dispel any perception that illegal logging was widespread in Guyana.

“Anyone who suggests that there’s rampant illegal logging in Guyana is totally out of reality, exist in a different zone. Companies here can tell you the monitoring and the work that has been done by Guyana Forestry Commission.

“The community forestry organisations could tell you that from the time we detect a single log that we are not clear about we go after those communities,” Persaud said.

He added that the system used locally was “world-class” and could withstand any international scrutiny.  

Guyana is currently engaging the European Union on the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU-FLEGT) which is aimed at ensuring that wood sold in the EU market is verifiably legal.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut