Company-Led Approaches to Conflict Resolution in the Forest Sector

This discussion paper explores the potential for addressing conflict in the forest sector through the use of company-led tools and mechanisms. It offers examples of tools and approaches that are being employed by companies and non-industry players working closely with companies to address conflict-related issues. Two broad approaches emerged from the survey. These are termed:

  • Rights-based approaches – favoured by non-industry respondents – which focus primarily on helping communities to identify and defend their rights to land and resources; and
  • Stakeholder management systems – favoured by companies as part of their overall management systems.

The paper concludes that methods and tools related to both types of approach are still evolving in the forest sector. A range of mechanisms and flexible, locally tailored approaches are required to address conflicts. This poses a challenge to the development of industry-wide and company-wide mechanisms, tools, standards and guidelines. Solutions need to be designed for the local context and in close collaboration with local stakeholders (government, communities, local enterprises and civil society). However, this does not preclude the need for industry-wide sharing of experience and knowledge, and the development and testing of broadly applicable principles and methodologies.

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