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Logging industry cleans up its act in Solomon Islands

‘Cowboy’ operators worry registered firms

In a world that’s becoming increasingly environmentally-friendly, logging is a dirty word. So much so that even commercial banks, conscious of the growing influence of the green economy, are refusing to have anything to do with loggers. That awareness has driven the logging industry in Solomon Islands to lift its game in addressing the issues that have given rise to the anti-logging lobby in recent years.

Logging companies, for example, have established a body known as the Solomon Forest Association (SFA). Its mandate, among other things, is to work towards establishing a one-for-all, all-for-one guidelines to govern their activities in Solomon Islands. SFA has since produced a set of regulations and a code of practice for its members.

“We want to ensure the logging industry which represents good corporate citizens is properly regulated,” a spokesman said. One of its core regulations stipulates that only members of SFA are allowed to engage in logging activities in Solomon Islands. The Association has also raised the stakes on membership. Good standing by SFA members in the community or communities is a prerequisite for membership. SFA believes good standing begins at home. “We believe in building a harmonious relationship with everyone – governments, communities and other stakeholders. That can only happen when the industry is regulated with a code of practice for everyone,” the spokesman said.

Heavy penalties apply should these regulations are violated or ignored. For example, a company can lose its membership if it is found to have breached the regulation and code of practice. But for reasons known only to it, the government is yet to commit to the regulations, let alone endorse them. “SFA is still waiting on the government to endorse both the regulations and the code of practice we have proposed. It is important that the government endorses these regulations to give effect to its enforcement.“

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