Timber industry thrives in a sustainable setting

Expo 2020 Dubai returns to the world stage more relevant than ever with its theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. The emirate in Dubai is providing a platform that encourages creativity and innovation in a sustainable environment where exhibitors, buyers, and visitors from 192 countries can collaborate under three main sub-themes – “Opportunity”, “Mobility” and “Sustainability”.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (MOSTI) leads Malaysia’s participation in Expo 2020 with the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) bringing together 24 ministries, five state governments and 47 agencies to promote over 10 industries with the participation of over 300 companies all housed inside the Malaysia Pavilion.

Designed by award-winning firm Hijjas Architect + Planners, the Malaysia Pavilion spans 1,234 square metres.

“Taking its inspiration from the majestic Malaysian rainforest, the pavilion incorporates the elements of interconnected canopies with spatial concept and a meandering river. One of Malaysia’s prized hardwoods, Meranti, which was sponsored by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), was sourced from MTCS-PEFC certified forests and used for the construction of the pavilion,” said MTC Chairman Madam Hajjah Norrida Yusoff.

The Malaysia Pavilion, which is the first “Net Zero Carbon” building in a world expo, will also stand as a permanent fixture at the site. It is the nerve centre for the 26 weekly trade and business exhibits, business matching sessions, seminars, pocket talks and corporate events.

With its theme “Energising Sustainability”, the pavilion will feature Malaysia’s commitment and direction for the sustainable development of non-food based agri-commodities such as timber, amongst others at Expo 2020.

How Malaysia balances the socio-economic progress and environmental concerns revolving around the timber industry will be unveiled by the key organisations namely the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), MTC and the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC).

MTIB Director General Tuan Haji Mahpar Atan said the Expo 2020 will be a good platform to enhance ties between Malaysia and UAE industry players.

Agarwood is high on MTIB’s agenda as it plans to promote this fragrant resinous wood for the perfume industry. The Timber Board will also display wood crafting and engraving using laser-cutting technology in a bid to woo more business to these sectors.

Malaysia has always recognised the importance of managing its forest resources wisely and this is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. The Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) system has been part and parcel of Malaysia’s forestry practices since 1901.

MTCC’s role in developing and operating the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) has further shown the world Malaysia’s commitment in not only producing timber-based products from sustainable sources but also keeping firm to its promise made during the 1992 Rio Summit where at least 50% of the total land area must be under forest cover. Currently, 55.3% of the country’s land area remains under forest cover.

MTCS has been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the largest forest certification programme which represents more than 300 million hectares of certified forests worldwide. MTCS is the first tropical timber certification in the Asia Pacific region endorsed by PEFC.

MTCS is recognised by the national procurement policies in Denmark, UK, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. It is also accepted under the Malaysian Green Building Index and other Green Building Systems in Singapore, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, and UAE.

As of 31 Dec 2021, a total of 21 Forest Management Units and nine Forest Plantation Management Units has been certified under the MTCS, covering 5.35 million hectares of MTCS/PEFC-certified forests in the country. The total number of Chain of Custody-certified companies is 382.

“MTCC will highlight the achievements of the MTCS in fulfilling the SDGs both in Malaysia and globally and how it enhances businesses in the seminars that will be held at the Malaysia Pavilion. The Council will also share industry experiences on the viability of sustainable manufacturing practices in the timber sector,” said MTCC CEO Siti Syaliza Mustapha.

As the promotional and development arm of the timber industry, MTC continues to support the industry with programmes that take the industry up a notch while keeping the sustainability of the industry in mind.

The COVID-19 pandemic had expedited digital migrations and MTC’s TimbeReality was conceived at a time when timber-based manufactures could not showcase their products physically to the world.

TimbeReality is a dedicated VR platform that displays Malaysian-made timber and furniture products which buyers can visit. This year will also be the year where the Malaysian Wood Expo (MWE) 2022 returns after its successful run in 2019. Promotional efforts for this international timber products and woodworking machinery exhibition will take centre-stage at Expo 2020.

MTC will also launch the Forest Beyond Timber video that narrates how Malaysia protects and conserves its forest and the green practices embraced by the Malaysian timber-based manufacturers. MTC will also host a series of B2B sessions as well as pocket talks to raise awareness of the sustainability of the industry and its products.

Everything Malaysia does as a nation for its timber-based sector centres on keeping its industry viable and forest sustainable.

The Malaysia Pavilion as well as its virtual platform called Malaysia e-Pavilion is expected to draw more than 500,000 visitors with about 1,000 business engagements and RM10 billion in potential trade.

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