March 6, 2007
THE Forest Stewardship Council forest certification scheme has been formally launched in Australia with a pledge to increase FSC membership.
FSC Australia chief executive Michael Spencer said the group was seeking support for a two-year program to develop an FSC-accredited Australian forest management standard.
This would involve building consensus on key issues, he said, including a definition of high conservation value Australian forests, appropriate forest management practices and community benefit from forestry operations.
FSC maintains its standards ensure sustainable forest management and a rigorous chain of custody system that allows tracking of certified wood and wood products from FSC-certified forests from manufacture to the retailer and customer.
Mr Spencer said the number of Australian companies with FSC chain of certification had grown from about 10 in November 2005 to more than 30.
FSC Australia is supported by environment groups, several forest products companies and community groups.
Environmental members include WWF-Australia, the Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Greenpeace. Business members include ITC, Hancock Victorian Plantations, Australian Paper and Timbercorp.
In Australia, more than 650,000 hectares of forest have been certified to FSC standards. Globally, more than 80 million hectares have been certified in 70 countries to FSC standards, and about 5000 companies are participating in the FSC chain of custody system.