FSC Australia investing $1.3m to reach a consensus on forest management
FOREST STEWARDSHIP Council Australia (FSC Australia) has taken a step closer to launching an FSC Australia – Forest Stewardship Standard by revealing a first draft of new guidelines to members.
The Forest Stewardship Standard is being developed by the Standards Development Group (SDG)*, elected by FSC Australia’s members in September last year. The group of nine representatives is tasked with coming to a consensus on behalf of the FSC’s membership about how Australian forests should be managed.
FSC Australia CEO, Natalie Reynolds, said this was a major milestone for Australia in responsible forest management. “There is no better way to come to consensus on highly contentious issues than to bring a group of people with differing views together in a room under FSC’s International framework,” she said.
The SDG representatives have an even balance of social, environmental and economic backgrounds – including representatives from the union movement, specialists on environmental issues and foresters. They will reach a consensus on more than 30 key forest management issues, including: • Workers’ rights and employment conditions • Protecting the interests of and creating benefits for
Indigenous communities • Maintenance and conservation of ecosystems and environmental values where lands are subject to harvesting activities • Water catchment management practices • The protection of rare, threatened and endangered
species. • Enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of local communities All nine parties must agree on each and every issue before the standard is finalised. A final version is expected by the end of next year. FSC Australia needs to invest a budgeted $1.3m over two years to take the FSC’s global standards and create something locally relevant and locally owned. At this stage more than half the money has been obtained or promised to make this possible.
“Australia has a very specific set of environmental social and economic circumstances to consider so it’s important that we make the International standard locally appropriate,” Natalie said.
The process is being overseen by Independent Chair, Dr Evelyne Meier who said the Standards Development Group had worked tirelessly on the first draft. “We’re looking forward to engaging with members to gather vital feedback and input as we progress towards a final consensus position,” she said.
Standards Development Group
Independent Chairperson - Dr Evelyne Meier has extensive experience working in high-level policy related roles across government, the private sector and a number of multi-stakeholder initiatives. She is an experienced chairperson and director with a strong record of guiding policy processes in natural resource management and stakeholder engagement.
Social representatives: • Aidan Flanagan - Institute of Foresters Australia • Tim Anderson - Regional Forrest Communities
(Individual Member) • Travis Wacey - Union Movement Member) Environmental representatives: • Warrick Jordan - The Wilderness Society • Paul Winn - Hunter Community Environment
Centre • David Blair – Forest Ecologist (Individual Member)
Economic representatives: • Suzette Weeding - Forestry Tasmania • Amanda Naismith - New Forests Asset Management • Peter Grist - Australian Forest Products Association