VicForests’ sus­tain­abil­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ex­tends to western Vic­to­ria

Australian Forests and Timber - - IN THE NEWS -

VICFORESTS has ex­tended its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to the Aus­tralian Forestry Stan­dard (AFS) to in­clude com­mu­nity forestry op­er­a­tions in western Vic­to­ria. Nathan Trushell, Act­ing CEO VicForests, said that it was the first time VicForests had sought cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for its com­mu­nity forestry op­er­a­tions.

“VicForests’ have been cer­ti­fied to the AFS for 10 years now and we are very pleased to of­fi­cially in­clude our western Vic­to­rian op­er­a­tions within that cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“With more than 60 cus­tomers in western Vic­to­ria we saw it as es­sen­tial to ex­tend our cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to cover our com­mu­nity forestry op­er­a­tions.

“All VicForests’ cus­tomers will now be able to pur­chase tim­ber from us with the in­de­pen­dent as­sur­ance that it comes from sus­tain­ably man­aged forests,” Mr Trushell said.

There are nine cri­te­ria that for­est man­agers must meet to re­ceive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in­clud­ing the need to pro­tect bio­di­ver­sity, main­tain for­est health, pro­tect soil and wa­ter and to main­tain and en­hance so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

VicForests is au­dited ev­ery nine months by ac­cred­ited au­di­tors in or­der to main­tain its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. The most re­cent surveil­lance au­dit took place in Septem­ber 2016.

“Our staff should be very proud of the au­dit re­sults,” Mr Trushell said.

“The re­port stated that ex­cel­lent progress has been made in train­ing and our sys­tems have been en­hanced to sup­port the task­force process and up­dates re­gard­ing threat­ened species de­tec­tions,” he said.

The au­di­tors also com­mended VicForests staff for show­ing strong sup­port for the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process and ac­tively im­prov­ing prac­tices both in the field and in their sys­tem.

It was sug­gested that VicForests should im­prove on its doc­u­men­ta­tion and pro­ce­dures for as­sess­ing and record­ing risks.

“We have up­dated our risk as­sess­ment in­struc­tions for staff and will work on im­prov­ing our pro­ce­dures over the com­ing months,” Mr Trushell said.

The AFS is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised by the world’s largest for­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion scheme, the Pro­gram for the En­dorse­ment of For­est Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (PEFC).

VicForests is re­spon­si­ble for the sustainable har­vest, re­grow­ing and com­mer­cial sale of tim­ber in Vic­to­ria. VicForests sup­ports thou­sands of jobs state wide and plays a vi­tal role in sus­tain­ing the econ­omy in ru­ral ar­eas.

Se­lec­tion har­vest­ing op­er­a­tion.

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