The Kenyan government has launched the Interim National Standard (INS) which aims to protect forests.
Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, speaking at the launch held at Amani Gardens, Karura Forest, noted that deforestation has been recognized as one of the greatest contributors to climate change through the release of carbon into the atmosphere, hence the need to protect forests.
“The forests are important to us who are here today, to our young children and their generations. All of us have a role to play in ensuring that the forests are protected. We are stewards and custodians of the forests for our future generation,” stated Tobiko.
He lauded the corporates who were playing a crucial role in preserving the forests, noting that the industry is good but if not well managed, it could be destructive.
“I am happy that there are a number of corporates here who are keen on making profits but not in a manner that destroys the environment but protects it,” the CS said.
Tobiko noted that going green is not only good for the planet, environment and future generations, but also good for business, saying for sustainability, much is gained instead of being lost.
He added that having a system and standards to measure, monitor and report, would help in checking the potential for green washing and urged the corporations to offset their carbon footprints and ensure that they have their NetZero.
“We live in a global village. Destruction of the environment here in Kenya affects countries far away from us. So, global standards are required and this is one of such standards and I fully associate myself with and endorse it,” he said.
In her remarks, Senior Deputy Director at Kenya Forest Service, Monica Kalenda, expressed confidence that the launch of the standards would propel the sector to the next level.
She pointed out that there were plenty of forest products both in government forests, community forests and in private forests that can actually be exported once certification is done.
“We have beautiful furniture being produced in Kenya but unfortunately due to lack of certification, we are confined to the local market. This process will therefore aid us penetrate the external market,” she stated.
The Standard is broadly based on the 10 FSC Principles and Criteria and indicators for forest management, which include compliance with national laws, conserving areas with high conservation values, assessing environmental values and impacts, enhancing community relations, indigenous people’s rights, workers’ rights, and employment conditions, among others.