On May 10, 2024 in the city of Sofia, a founding meeting of Sustainable Forests Association was held. The Association brought together environmental associations, social associations, trade unions, social leaders, environmental protection leaders and companies from the wood processing sector, which are interested in sustainable forest management and balancing of the interests of the economic, ecological and social sectors in Bulgaria. To stay informed about the process, a representative of the Executive Forest Agency was also present at the founding meeting.

The founders of the Sustainable Forests Association united around the idea and mission of the international organization Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®).

FSC is a global organization that has been actively implementing and promoting voluntary certification tools in the forest sector for 30 years. FSC standards are among the most respected in the world, and the organization’s labels tend to be of the most recognizable ones among responsible consumers of wood products. In Bulgaria, about 65% of all forest territories, including about 80% of state forests are certified according to FSC principles and criteria. Nearly 400 traders and wood processing companies are also certified according to the FSC CoC standards for tracking the supply chain in Bulgaria.

The founding of Sustainable Forests Association is part of the process of establishing an FSC network partner in Bulgaria. The members of the new Association are motivated to attract more like-minded people and members to support the idea of voluntary certification as an effective way of sustainable forest management and improving the image of the forest sector. One of the goals of the Association is to promote the FSC trademark amongst Bulgarian consumers of forest products. Although there are many certified forest management units and companies in Bulgaria, consumers are still not sufficiently familiar with the benefits, meaning and effectiveness of the tools behind the FSC labels.

The founders of Sustainable Forests Association are: Anelia Ivanova Galabova – expert in the protection of workers’ rights and social justice in the forest sector, Association of Parks in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT), Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Branch Chamber of the Woodworking and Furniture Industry (BKDMP), WWF Bulgaria, Zhivko Bogdanov – individual member of the ecological chamber of FSC A.C., IRELI Bulgaria EOOD, Kronoshpan Bulgaria EOOD, NEPCON Bulgaria EOOD, Svilocell EAD, Wild Nature Association BALKANI, Sredna Gora AD, Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation.