Social dimensions in codes of forest practices

A specific set of social issues relates to the application of labour standards in forest industries.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the total global forest industries employment is around 47 million, including workers in the formal sector (more than 17 million workers) and informal and subsistence sectors. The informal sector, including self-employed forest workers, people involved in fuelwood and non-timber forest products enterprises and collection is grossly estimated at 30 million people but could well be double that in the formal sector. The forestry sector, and logging in particular, continue to be one of the most hazardous occupations in many countries of the world.

The FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice, published in 1996, includes recommendations for an adequate workforce in forest harvesting, covering training and safety issues. Since then, FAO has continued to support countries in the development and implementation of national and regional codes of forest practices, including recommendations to follow the ILO guidelines on labour standards.
FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice
Forest codes of practices. FAO Forestry Paper 133
Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission
In recent years, a growing number of countries have adopted or started to develop national codes of forest practices. Codes of practices have also been drawn up, on a voluntary basis, by private companies.

Social aspects addressed by codes of forest practice usually include what the ILO refers to as components of 'decent work'' - quality of employment and job security (including wages, safety and health conditions, skills and career), rights at work, social dialogue and conflict resolution. A useful guide to the labour standards of the ILO related to forestry:Social criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management: A guide to ILO texts

Other readingsSafety and health in forestry work: an ILO code of practice
Economic and social justice in sustainable forest management: an ILO perspective
last updated:  Wednesday, November 9, 2005