22. An Effective Business Model that Ensures both Sustainable Wood Procurement and Sustainable Forest Conservation – Partnership among local community/NGO and private enterprises-

1. Approach’s Outline and Features

This approach is a business model created by a Japanese private company that ensures sustainable timber procurement while maintaining sustainable forest conservation through collaboration with a private company, NGO and community that are all local.

How can this approach secure sustainable timber procurement?

  • Forest management:
    • A local NGO in Tanzania manages FSC- (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forest where timber is procured. FSC is a certification to guarantee sustainable forest management.
    • To ensure the forest is replenished, the local community engages in afforestation with technical support from a local NGO.
    • Involvement of the local community: A local private company employs local people to saw up logs, which boosts local development.
    • Better traceability: Transparent traceability is ensured through direct procurement from local entities (i.e. the local community and a private company).

Forest certification / FSC / Afforestation / Cooperation between a private company and community / sustainable business model

2. Description of the project from which this approach is derived

2-1. Introduction

The African blackwood (hereinafter referred to as ABW, Dalbergia melanoxylon) is now widely distributed through sub-Saharan African countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria and even Senegal. It is commonly known as Mpingo in Swahili (trade name, grenadilla) and generally used to manufacture wood-wind instruments like clarinets, oboes, piccolo and bagpipes. Since ABW is the only species capable of meeting the requirements for specific musical instrument production, it is crucial to conserve this timber resource to keep the music industry sustainable.

However, intensive harvesting has raised social concerns about the sustainability of ABW resources. Nowadays, this species has been designated as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN red list since 1998.

Yamaha Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Yamaha), a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer and seller, purchased ABW timber from Eastern African countries like Tanzania and Mozambique, over 20 years ago. To ensure sustainable ABW procurement, Yamaha focused on procuring FSC-certified ABW timber which could be directly supplied from local community forests in Tanzania. Based on the above background and with the relevant issues in mind, Yamaha aimed to develop a business model that harmonizes sustainable timber procurement and forest conservation through JICA’s private-sector business promotion scheme.

Tree grunk shape of African blackwood.
(Source : JICA)
Shape of each part of clarinet material.
(Source: JICA)

2-2. Details of the measures taken

  • Survey for African Blackwood habitat
    • Since the local NGO was already FSC-certified before the project, the amount of ABW was secured. However, checks to ensure the quality would suffice for use as a musical instrument were not conducted. Accordingly, the project team sought to find an appropriate environment in which to grow good-quality wood.
  • Timber Procurement Trial from Forest Communities
    • As a trial, Yamaha procured ABW from the community through a local private company on the project site as part of efforts to establish a new value chain from the community to Yamaha
  • Afforestation with the community
    • YAMAHA implemented ABW afforestation as a pilot project with communities to conserve forests and incentivize the communities to help conserve forests.
  • Design a business model for sustainable ABW procurement
    • Yamaha designed the business model below for sustainable ABW procurement. With it, Yamaha can procure good-quality ABW by involving the community to manage the forest, while the community can earn an income along the two (2) value chains: (i) Labor fees from the local NGO for planting, managing and harvesting ABW and (ii) Selling harvested ABW to a local private company.
(Source: JICA (partially revised by the conributer of this article ))

(Perspectives on sustainability)

  • Helping incentivize the community to preserve forest contributes to sustainable forest management because the community is the main group using the forest, including ABW. To do so, Yamaha increased the community’s capacity to provide quality ABW by themselves on a sustainable basis. For example, boosting their capacities to breed seedlings and plant trees by organizing joint afforestation activities with the company. These activities helped the community earn income from planting, managing and selling good-quality ABW and incentivized the community to preserve forest, as described in the above business model.
  • Yamaha selected a local NGO, which is in a close relationship with the community, to transfer tree planting & management techniques to the community.

3. Analysis of the approach

3-1. Impact

  • The local community and project staff already implemented afforestation for 6.5 ha (12,000 trees).
  • A monitoring system for the planted trees was created.
  • A procurement system of ABW from the community via a local private company was established.
  • Establishment of an FSC-certified wood export network between the Japanese company and the wood export company.

3-2. Lessons learned

  • To ensure a sustainable timber supply, a forest management system including premier provision should be discussed among stakeholders like forest communities, a timber export company and other relevant companies.
  • It is advisable to develop a scheme that combines FSC certification with other management techniques to produce even better-quality wood.
  • A more efficient monitoring system for planted trees is necessary to expand the afforestation area. For example, planted areas and tree growth should be monitored to evaluate planted trees appropriately.

4. Relevant information

NbS Approach Category3-6. 22
Title of the project from which the approach is derivedBusiness Preparatory Survey on Sustainable Timber Procurement from FSC-Certified Forests in Tanzania (Promotion of BOP Business Collaboration)
CountryUnited Republic of Tanzania
Implementing term2017/1 – 2019/9
Implementing organizationsMpingo Conservation & Development Initiative (MCDI)
Supporting organizationsYAMAHA Corporation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Report/Tool/GuidelineFinal Survey Report https://openjicareport.jica.go.jp/pdf/1000042012.pdf
Contributors to this articleLeo Watanabe /Oriental Consultants Global (OCG)