Cost-com­pet­i­tive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion a boon to many in tim­ber in­dus­try

Australian Forests and Timber - - CERTIFICATION -

CER­TI­FIED TIM­BER is be­com­ing an im­por­tant recog­ni­tion of the le­gal and re­spon­si­ble sourc­ing of tim­ber and wood prod­ucts. Many small and medium sized en­ter­prises have been priced out of the cer­ti­fied tim­ber mar­ket due to the high com­pli­ance costs of ob­tain­ing and main­tain­ing cer­tifi­cates.

All of the three most im­por­tant cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes that op­er­ate in Aus­tralia, For­est Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil® (FSC®), Pro­gramme for the En­dorse­ment of For­est Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (PEFC) and Aus­tralian Forestry Stan­dard (AFS) have pro­vi­sion in their scheme rules for small en­ter­prises to band to­gether and share cer­tifi­cates. This op­tion has been slow to get to the mar­ket but this has re­cently changed.

A pri­vately owned and op­er­ated Group Scheme has re­cently been es­tab­lished and is now hold­ing cer­tifi­cates for Chain of Cus­tody for FSC® and PEFC which mu­tu­ally recog­nises AFS.

“There have been sev­eral at­tempts to get co­op­er­a­tive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion go­ing in Aus­tralia with lim­ited success. A pri­vately op­er­ated group al­lows a busi­ness-to­busi­ness con­nec­tion to drive the re­la­tion­ship and makes cer­ti­fi­ca­tion more af­ford­able to mem­bers,” said Group Man­ager Gary Feather­ston who op­er­ates the small con­sul­tancy busi­ness that is of­fer­ing group scheme mem­ber­ship for both for­est man­age­ment and chain of cus­tody.

“I started a for­est man­age­ment group in 2008, work­ing with a small group of western district farm­ers who had their sugar gum wind­break plan­ta­tions cer­ti­fied to the For­est Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil® stan­dards and a small sawmill cut­ting this wood. We added a chain of cus­tody cer­tifi­cate to the group to al­low the sawmill to sell cer­ti­fied tim­ber to his cus­tomers. Re­cently we added a PEFC chain of cus­tody cer­tifi­cate, and are now ready to take the group to the wider mar­ket,” Mr Feather­ston said.

The orig­i­nal driver for the com­pany to get cer­ti­fi­ca­tion was to demon­strate that good forestry prac­tices were pos­si­ble in Aus­tralia and they could be demon­strated to in­de­pen­dent au­di­tors that the high­est en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial stan­dards could be met. Mem­ber­ship of the for­est man­age­ment group is avail­able to for­est or plan­ta­tion own­ers will­ing to com­ply with the stan­dard and to get ac­cess to the grow­ing mar­kets for cer­ti­fied tim­ber.

FSC® op­er­ates in 82 coun­tries and is a stake­holder-owned sys­tem for pro­mot­ing the re­spon­si­ble man­age­ment of the world’s forests. There are more than 190 mil­lion hectares cer­ti­fied around the globe. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion al­lows for­est grow­ers to la­bel their prod­ucts with the pres­ti­gious FSC® logo. Con­sumers buy­ing prod­ucts with the la­bel can be as­sured that the tim­ber has come from re­spon­si­bly man­aged forests. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the best tool to stop il­le­gal log­ging.

Mr Feather­ston said PEFC has en­dorsed the for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes in 33 coun­tries and has 300 mil­lion hectares cer­ti­fied. The Aus­tralian Stan­dard for Sustainable For­est Man­age­ment AS 47082013 has been en­dorsed by PEFC and is a sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal stan­dard de­vel­oped ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian stan­dard set­ting pro­ce­dures.

Tim­ber buy­ers can be as­sured that buy­ing from ei­ther scheme pro­vides con­fi­dence that good forestry has been prac­ticed and en­vi­ron­men­tal harm is min­imised.

Tim­ber pro­ces­sors can now pre-empt or meet their cus­tomer’s needs for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in a sim­ple and af­ford­able man­ner by join­ing a group scheme.

For more in­for­ma­tion

avail­able from Gary on 0428 408 144 or email gary@forest­strat­egy.com.au

Cer­ti­fied Sugar Gum plan­ta­tions near Lis­more, Vic­to­ria.

Gary Feather­ston, Forester and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sup­porter.

Nests in rem­nant trees are crit­i­cal.

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