Bart W van Assen has over 15 years of experience as a Compliance Coach & Auditor (mainly in natural forests, timber and oil palm plantations, and industries) both for profit and non-profit enterprises. He is one of the few people with an extensive track record covering all disciplines of certification (profit, people, and planet) in Indonesia. He obtained BSc and MSc degrees in Tropical Forestry and Nature Conservation from Larenstein International Highschool and Wageningen Agricultural University.
Bart worked with various enterprises as an associate and a freelancer, including Control Union Certifications, Double Helix Tracking Technologies, Gaia Commoditas, Global Forest Watch, the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute, the Dutch Institute for Agro-Technological Research, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification Services, and the Zoological Society of London.
Bart also volunteers as Technical Adviser at the Orangutan Land Trust (United Kingdom), as founder and (interim) chairman of the Indonesian Auditor Network, and as PhilosopHare and Master Hound of the Bogor HHH (Indonesia). In his spare time Bart is an avid kite-flier, and a regular blogger.
Climate Forestry, Associate Compliance Coach for Indonesia and Southeast Asia (September 2016 – ongoing)
For more information, visit Climate Forestry.
David Ogg & Partners, Associate Trainer for Indonesia and Southeast Asia (August 2016 – ongoing)
For more information, visit David Ogg & Partners.
Indonesian Auditor Network, Founder & Associate (June 2015 – ongoing) Supports the establishment of a professional auditor network, and training materials. For more information, visit The Indonesian Auditor Network.
Double Helix Tracking Technologies, Director Field Operations, Indonesia (July 2013 – June 2015)
Responsible for day-to-day management of the local (Indonesian) office, leading FM/ COC audits against CertiSource and Timber Legality (SVLK) standards, and coaching clients towards various standards (CAFE Practices, FSC, GAP, SRI, etc).
Gaia Commoditas, General Manager Indonesia (December 2008 – June 2013)
Responsible for day-to-day management of the office, assisting clients on sustainability standards (CAFE Practices, FSC, GAP, GFTN, HCV, SRI, etc.), and marketing.
Global Forestry Services: Country Representative Indonesia (February 2006 – September 2007)
Compliance Coach on management enterprises and chain of custody certification, wood legality verification and step-wise certification.
WWF Global Forest & Trade Network, Indonesia Market Links Coordinator (November 2004 – June 2005)
Advised the Global Forest Trade Network’s Indonesian producer group; liaised with potential members, NGOs and the Ministry of Forestry; Lead on draft standard for Indonesia; established market links to Europe and the United States of America; lead auditor on baseline appraisals for FSC certification and legal verification, coach on certification and High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) identification.
Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute, Assistant Public Relations (June 2002 – October 2002)
Liaised with (inter)national NGOs, European funding agencies, the Ministry of Forestry and the National Standardisation Body; advised on project acquisition and fundraising; drafted Standard Operating Procedures for project proposals and corporate donations.
Seram Development Corporation, Head Forestry & Certification (Augustus 2001 – May 2002)
Implemented a base forest inventory; prepared the long-and medium-term forest management plans for a concession in the Moluccas and lobbied at the Ministry of Forestry for approval; led a team of up to 12 local experts on sustainable forest management; liaised with local and international organisations regarding sustainable forest management.
Institute for Agro-Technological Research, Regional Representative Southeast Asia (March 1996 – June 2000)
Supervised the Indonesia representative office; liaised with government ministries, research organizations, and industries; coordinated projects of Dutch and Indonesian stakeholders on coconut, potato, oil palm, timber species and cooled ‘value-added’ distribution; prepared briefs on post-harvest technologies and strategies for national research and extension agencies and industries.
Liaised with the UN/ESCAP CGPRT Centre on the project ‘Avenues for Agro-Industrial Development in Southeast Asia’ and compiled commodity reports and country reports for the UN and the Indonesian government. Managed a staff of up to five Indonesians and supervised a multidisciplinary team of international and local experts regularly involved in the projects.
SBW Consultancy & Research, Head Tropical Land Use Department (March 1994 – February 1996)
Liaised with the directors and board; prepared divisional policies; supervised administration and logistics; prepared project proposals; lobbied for funding at Dutch agencies; led projects (Community-based Sustainable Timber Production in the Tropics, Community-Based Ecotourism in Krui, Indonesia).
About two years ago I ran my own, self-imposed, social experiment… one I don’t encourage anyone to repeat: I joined several anti-oil-palm groups on Facebook. Not being much of an anti-anything myself this was my ‘here be dragons’ moment; my personal blank space on the map to explore. I meant to learn more about the global concerns over oil palm and to add some local context to these concerns. But the thunder of dragons I expected to find was but a mass of petty minds, whipped into a frenzy of prejudice through selective posts by a few super brands. It quickly became – quite literally – too depressing to continue. (more…)
Compliance Coach for The Borneo Initiative since March 2009. Current coaching includes Semarak Dharma Timber (Papua, Indonesia) and Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (West-Kalimantan, Indonesia), both through Climate Forestry.
Alas, I’m not ICEA certified. But it still amazes me how easy it was to donwload their logo for dubious claims…
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
PEFC training(s) include Social Auditor Forest Management (February 2015) and Chain-of-Custody (December 2014); Recent audits include Arara Abadi (Riau, Indonesia), Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (Riau, Indonesia), Sumatera Riang Lestari (North Sumatra, Indonesia), and Sumatra Sylva Lestari (Riau, Indonesia). For more information on past audits, see Audit Log.
CLAS training(s) include ‘Writing Non-Conformities and Observations’ (March 2015), ‘CertiSource Standard’ (February 2015), ‘Basic Auditing’ (June 2014); recent audits include Diadyani Timber (Papua, Indonesia), Henrison Iriana (West Papua, Indonesia), Karya Jaya Berdikari (Southeast Mollucas, Indonesia), Kayu Lapis Indonesia (Central Java, Indonesia), and Seng Fong Moulding Perkasa (West Java, Indonesia). For more information on past audits, see Audit Log.
Thesis ‘Management of Natural Resources in the Tropics’, Forestry and Nature Conservation-project, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia: vegetation inventory of Baluran National Park (East Java).
Thesis ‘Forest Management’, West Papua Peoples Front and Stichting Milieudefensie (the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth), the Netherlands: studied the ecological and social effects of commercial logging of mangrove forests in West Papua, Indonesia; started project administration, contacted third parties in Indonesia, wrote texts on forest management and laws, and designed the layout of the report.
Main study-topics: aerial photograph interpretation, agro-forestry ecosystems, forest influences, land evaluation, non-timber forest products, nursery practices and soil degradation & conservation.
Thesis ‘Tropical Forestry’, DHV Consultants, Indonesia: land evaluation and land use planning for the Upper Solo (Wonogiri) Watershed Protection Project, Indonesia.
Practical trainee at the BTPDAS, Solo, Indonesia: land degradation and erosion prevention through reforestation in the Upper Solo Watershed Management Project.
Study-topics: agricultural development & extension education, erosion control, forest management & ecology, project planning & evaluation, tropical forestry and tropical soil science & agriculture.
Treehugger for life
Although the date of drawing is lost in time, it must’ve been the early 1970’s… a decade before I got hooked on Treebeard and the Ents. I guess it’s a concept that defines me all the way back to primary school.
Various certification bodies, Auditor & Technical Expert (2003 – ongoing) Freelance (lead) auditor and certification decision maker for third party certification and legality verification (FSC, PEFC, RSPO, VLK).
Zoological Society of London, Consultant (2015 – 2016) Forestry Expert: prepared the Inception Stage of South Sumatra Sustainable Landscape Management Project.
The Borneo Initiative, Compliance Coach & Auditor (2009 – 2016)
Case-writer ‘Cost of Certification: FSC’ (2016), Compliance Coach: assist forest management enterprises to achieve voluntary certification. Internal Auditor: perform due diligence investigations on candidate forest management enterprises.
FSC Netherlands, Case-writer (2009)
Assisted in the selection of 10-14 forest concessions in Borneo, and identification of constraints an possibilities for certification.
Sumalindo Lestari Jaya, Technical Advisor (2008)
Technical advisor on restructuring the company’s CSR activities under a single (non-profit) organization and preparing an action plan towards FSC certification for its timber plantations.
The Indonesian Natural Resource Institute, Team leader Heart of Borneo Concession Audits Project (2005)
Determined forest quality through forest audits and log tracking from concession to the international markets.
FAO/RECOFT, Case-writer (2004) Case-study on ‘Diamonds are forever? Case study No 34, Diamond Raya Timber, Riau (Indonesia)’. In: Excellence in forestry, FAO 2005.
Global Forest Watch, Case-writer (2004)
Assisted an inventory of Indonesian NGOs involved in forestry and researched the impact of certification in Indonesia and the awareness of these impacts among its major stakeholders.
SmartWood Asia Pacific Office, Coordinator KPS (2003) Coordinated promotion, awareness-raising and training for FSC and LEI certification and HCVF identification for the Forest Certification Group (KPS).
Jack of all trades Vs The pure gospel of Flat Earth | Flat Earth Debate
Certification VS Conservation in Natural Resource Management (Guest Lecture IPB University, ESL)
In late 1990, the Smartwood Programme (Smartwood) of the Rainforest Alliance was the first forestry certification initiative to award a certificate in Indonesia. The leading local organization, the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia or LEI) emerged more or less parallel to the FSC. Ever since, FSC and LEI have engaged in a slow waltz toward mutual recognition. Today – two decades later – about half a dozen separate initiatives are active in Indonesia. in addition, forestry certification catalyzed new approaches and initiatives to improve forestry, including stepwise certification (Nussbaum and Simula 2005; White and Sharshar 2006), timber legality verification (Anonymous 2004; Van der Pol, Wit and Savenije 2005; TFF and Form 2004), and High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs; see Jennings et al. 2003; Daryatun et al. 2002). This proliferation of initiatives indicates a serious and diverse interest in the business of forestry certification.
Lessons Learned from Mandatory Certification (Tantangan dan Rekomendasi Langkah Bersama menuju Keberpihakan Uni Eropa terhadap ISPO)
Indonesia has ample experience with attempts to create synergy between various standards, with a very simple conclusion: standards are like water and oil. Mixing standards requires ample effort, either by mechanical excitement or high-tech chemistry. Even then they tend to separate out due to false perceptions of superiority, i.e. one standard is “better” than the other. The futility of such wet dreams becomes clear once we see these standards “in action”. The very same auditor verifying the “superior” standard also verifies the “inferior” standard and both tend to get reduced to the lowest common denominator.
This bring us to the weakest link in certification: the auditor and CABs. Publications like Who Watches the Watchmen (EIA 2015; see also Lawson 2007, WWF & WB 2006) – and many informal discussions – point to a crucial issue concerning all standards using using third party verification: the competence of auditors. Some stakeholders argue that auditors are hired by the company and therefore will falsify their findings in its favour. Auditors reject this conspiracy theory, but there is ample evidence that competence amongst auditors is declining, and they are currently the weakest link in certification/verification.
However, if we keep these characteristics in mind there is ample opportunity for synergy between various standards.
About two years ago I ran my own, self-imposed, social experiment… one I don’t encourage anyone to repeat: I joined several anti-oil-palm groups on Facebook. Not being much of an anti-anything myself this was my ‘here be dragons’ moment; my personal blank space on the map to explore. I meant to learn more about the global concerns over oil palm and to add some local context to these concerns. But the thunder of dragons I expected to find was but a mass of petty minds, whipped into a frenzy of prejudice through selective posts by a few super brands. It quickly became – quite literally – too depressing to continue.
Coming soon! Dotting the iii and crossing the ttt… some very interesting results.
Riparian flight: fly-by and transect of riparian forest in Papua (Indonesia)
Refleksi Sertifikasi Perangsang Diskusi Roundtable ’20 Tahun Sertifikasi Indonesia’
Perangsang Diskusi ini adalah penerjemahan sekalian pembaharuan dari ‘Certified Jungles?’ (Assen 2010), sebuah makalah terkait sertifikasi pengelolaan hutan (berkelanjutan) yang ditulis pada pertengahan 2007. Refleksi Sertifikasi ini mengidentifikasi isu-isu kunci dalam sertifikasi dan menyarankan pendekatan praktis untuk mengatasi masalah ini.
Peer Review, Doublehelix Report #1188 VEN (Yellow Balau Species Verification Report)
the available data suggests that any link between (timber) trade names and tree species should be approached with (extreme) caution/prejudice. Tree species may be no longer a reliable proxy for timber characteristics or the timber trade names that guarantee these characteristics.
Third-party certification (TPC) is a service industry that verifies products and processes such as food safety and quality; good management practices; labour practices; and environmental standards (Hatanaka, Bain and Busch 2005). The industry requires on-site audits by disinterested organizations connected to neither buyer nor seller (Busch et al. 2005). in agribusiness, TPC became “a key institution for enforcing private (and public) standards that is both independent from producers … and from governments” (Hatanaka, Bain and Busch 2005) that provides an independent check on corporate responsibility and due diligence (Busch et al. 2005; Fischer et al. 2005; Hatanaka, Bain and Busch 2005).
Certification in natural forest management (hereafter forestry certification) is a relatively new form of TPC that took flight in 1993 with the founding of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The concept verifies compliance to a broad array of national and international concerns, such as tenure rights and labour equity (social issues), deforestation and genetically modified organisms (environmental issues), and illegal wood and tax evasion (legal issues). Forestry certification aims to achieve pre-defined qualities of natural forest management, to differentiate products originating from such forests and to improve their market access (after Nussbaum and Simula 2005).
Diamond Raya Timber Concession: Diamonds are forever? (2005)
The Minister of Forestry should cancel the concession permit of PT Diamond Raya Timber and the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute must revoke its certificate of sustainable production forest management.” This demand was tabled in 2002 by the coordinating team of the Forest-Dependent Communities Development Program covering seven villages within PT Diamond Raya Timber’s concession area.
Heiko Liedeker, Executive Director of the Forest Stewardship Council, disagreed with the proposition: “Diamond Raya Timber is understood to be one of the most progressive concessions in Indonesia, but there is no pretence that it is perfect.”
These statements exemplify the controversy surrounding the certification of Diamond Raya’s forest management practices. Several parties have contested the company’s certification since the concession first received a stamp of approval from the Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute in 1999, while others laud Diamond Raya for its positive efforts toward forest management. The tension reflects the spectrum of management philosophies, ranging from preservationist perspectives to beliefs that forest conservation must necessarily encompass strong human interaction — including logging.
Although hardly known in the western kiting society, Buteo Huang from Taiwan is undeniably a renowned master kite builder. The oeuvre of this self-confident man comprises of a stunning two thousand plus unique kite designs!
The title of this paper was chosen because of the difference in the valuation of forest functions by the various interest groups (such as economists, ecologists, foresters, and environmentalists). It generalizes the main question: ‘Valuation of forest functions: is a financial yield the only evaluation of forest functions?’ (Here, the term ‘financial yield’ is used in the broadest sense possible, i.e., every valuation of forest functions in monetary units is considered to be a financial yield).
Answers to the questions are given by means of descriptions of forest functions and their valuation. These descriptions are very general and are limited because a more complete review would be impossible within the confines of this paper.
Although the date of drawing is lost in time, it must’ve been the early 1970’s… a decade before I got hooked on Treebeard and the Ents. I guess it’s a concept that defines me all the way back to primary school.
Totopong HHH, PhilosopHare and Master Hound (2016 – ongoing) Founder and member of mismanagement of a local (family) chapter of the Hash House Harriers. For more information, visit Totopong HHH.
Orangutan Land Trust, Technical Advisor (2012 – ongoing)
Liaise with timber and oil palm concessions to support protection and conservation of orangutan and its habitats. For more information, visit Orangutan Land Trust.
Sekolah Bogor Raya Soccer Team (2015 – 2017) Assist the management team and coordinate competition and friendly matches. For more information, visit Sekolah Bogor Raya.
Bogor HHH, Mismanagement Galore (2002 – 2016) Involved in mismanagement of a local (family) chapter of the Hash House Harriers. Responsibilities
included: Beer-Meister, Grand Master, Hare-Raiser, Hash-Cash, Hash-Sec, and Hash-Trash. For more information,
visit Bogor HHH.
Home Care (2002 – 2003)
Support of terminal parent.
‘De Gele Rijders’, Truck Driver & Radio-Operator (October 1993 – February 1994) Military service at the Royal Mounted Artillery. For more information, visit Gele Rijders.
The Bogor Hash House Harriers (BogorHHH) in Indonesia has been running since 23 November 2018. As I mismanaged it for over a decade (or two) in one function or another – with many other dedicated hashers like CaveMan, Enchillada and Spokes – I scanned a large collection of its Hashtory. Rather than let this go to waste, I’ll upload it here for the sake of the good old times.
BogorHHH joined the re-opening celebrations of Sempur Sports Field. The new track is quite comfy, especially compared to the previous “pot-holed” gravel… good work, Bogor!
Panduan – Bagaimana Merancang Hash Ala Bogor HHH?
After years and years of diligent work, Spokes’ How To Set a Bogor Hash has finally been translated and revised. Special thanks to BlackJack, CaveMan, Dangdut, ShortLegs and SpiceGirl for their support and inputs!
Soon available in hard- and soft-copy all over Bogor?
Update 14 Nov ’18: click here to download the guide (PDF)
Run #29 – Nameless Run
Date: 28 September 1982 Place: New Parung Road (Mitra 10?) Hares: John & Rosalie Ross, Des Bacini & Ninning & Melanie
Date: 23 November 1981 Place: Balai Penelitian Ternak – Ciawi
Although hardly prepared to be the scriber of the first run, because we came in late and had to leave early and also our shorthand (and very genteel) secretary was not at hand we still want to give an eyewitness report of this event.
A mixed group of approx. 40 persons had come to the call of the hash horn and eagerly were listening to the explanations of the hash rules. The good old Wharton was offered the opportunity to blow his period out and the Bogor hash era in. And on the pack went down the lawn to the gates, but alas a false road and the checking led to a slippery road along the borders of irrigation canal. The slippery part from there on continued leading to a closed gate post, where only the slim ones could pass, until Petheram lifted the whole port out of the hinges. I am still wondering if the last one put it back again. From here on the trail went up and down through small desas, bamboo woods, breath taking sawah walls and muddy kerbau trails, but finally the BPT fences indicated that the end was near. When we had to leave I had the impression that everybody had enjoyed the run at least as far as they had arrived.