Value chains are important causal links between human activity and environmental change within current production and consumption patterns. Value chains combine fundamental driving forces for ecological transition; however, as the continued destruction of vital ecosystem services indicates, in many cases, their development does not take adverse effects on environmental systems into account. Consequently, methods and tools are needed to support decision-makers in value chains to avoid and reduce negative impacts on social and ecological systems.
In your own words, what do you understand by sustainability value chain?
According to Jumoke Oguntimehin, “Sustainability value chain comprises three pillars, and it refers to the sets of actions or activities that helps to contribute to environmental, social and economic development.” Sustainability covers three aspects: the environmental aspects, social aspects (human resources), and what sustains both the environment and the social aspects, which are the economic aspects.
So what exactly is a forest product chain?
Jumoke said, “Agricultural chain is a little bit similar to forest chain, and it has to do with the collection of sequential activities that are carried out to bring a product to the end consumers, and it often begins with an input provider, then to a processor who processes it into a product for industries or directly for consumers.” She continues, “However, there are people involved in horizontal interactions; I call them input providers. They are not part of the chain but support the existence of the chain. They could be research institutes, NGOs, or governmental organizations that provide extension services to farmers. There are also financial institutions that offer finance and information. There are also vertical interactions. The Forest product chain is quite different from the agricultural product chain; it begins with the collector or extractor who goes into the forest mainly to collect or extract forest products (Timber products and NTFPs).
When asked about her thought on forest production, she referenced her earlier statement on forest product chains not being entirely different from the agricultural value chain. She continues, “if we are to compare both, it’s the same in the sense that who are those dependent on forest products, they are those who dwell around the forest and rely on it for their livelihood. But, the forest production chain is a bit complex, in the sense that it is natural unlike agricultural production chain especially in developing countries, which involves rural farmers doing the planting”.
Do companies usually abide by the certification given in production to ensure sustainability in the chain?
Jumoke responded by saying, “Well, if I am to speak of developing countries, I wouldn’t know much but of course, but in developed countries, they must comply. There are certification bodies that check on the activities of these companies to ensure they follow the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) rules. They make sure there is transparency in the product value chain, and they also publish their reports.
Jumoke also expressed her view on the sustainability chain for Nigeria to ensure compliance with the certification rules. She said, “sustainability requires collaborative efforts from the government, citizens, and even NGOs.” She added that tree planting is not just for environmental conservation but also contributes to the local people’s economic well–being. She advises that more awareness should be raised on sustainability and social values in terms of gender balance.
Learn more from the GREEN TALK with Opeyemi Oguntimehin: SUSTAINABILITY VALUES FOR ALL ACTORS IN A FOREST PRODUCT CHAIN. Oluborode James Olutayo – Author
Recording for this session can be found here: https://youtu.be/CFzRhYHR8do – YouTube.