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Green Smart Magazine : GreenSmart 2010
fairly new in Australia, branding of chain of custody -- where timbers are actually stamped or branded to identify which certification brand it complies with -- is still in its infancy. For instance, if you go looking for branded timber furniture or ask a builder or cabinetmaker to obtain a particular timber for a feature in your house, chances are it will be difficult to find. 'You may find some of those products but as a general rule at the moment, chain-of-custody certification is just evolving in Australia so you won't find certified branded timber products widely available at this point,' Alastair says. So who are the major players in forest certification? In Australia there are two schemes: The Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS), and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The predetermined standards mentioned earlier that individual forests must comply with to receive forest certification are set by these bodies. The standards set by both the AFCS and FSC are essentially the same, but neither scheme recognises certified material from the other as a legitimate certified source. Companies that wish to be recognised by both schemes therefore need chain-of- custody certification from each. Every other country in the world has a similar arrangement where FSC is a certification option alongside a local option, such as the AFCS. All of the non-FSC companies interact globally through export and imports under the international umbrella organisation Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). According to the Australian Forestry Standard Ltd, 'since its launch in 1999, PEFC has become the largest forest certification umbrella organisation ... delivering hundreds of millions of tonnes of wood to the processing industry and then on to the marketplace from over 200 million hectares of certified forests'. Only about 12 per cent of the world's forests are certified, Alastair says. The first target of the FSC when it established itself internationally was to try and identify legal timbers from illegal timbers, for example rainforest hardwood from PNG. So a large proportion of the forests certified to FSC internationally are hardwood forests. That was the group's main aim because that was obviously the main type of timber that was traded illegally. Certification for these overseas countries is an essential way forward. good wood Finding legal and sustainable timbers, and better still, certified timbers, is an important first step for anyone looking to build or renovate without costing the earth. Producers of certified timber products are listed on the FSC and AFCS websites, while for imported products The Good Wood Guide, an online guide, is supported by the FSC and includes information about its branded timbers and the importation of international forest timbers. For more information: www.goodwoodguide.org.au. www.fscaustralia.org. www.fsc.org. www.forestrystandard.org.au. www.pefc.org. Example of a chain of custody process for furniture CONSUMER RETAILER FOREST MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATE FOREST SAWMILL WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTOR FURNITURE FACTORY Transport logs Transport sawn timber Transport timber Transport furniture CoC CERTIFICATE Assumes logs purchased at stump, timber delivered CoC CERTIFICATE Assumes timber delivered CoC CERTIFICATE Assumes furniture delivered CoC CERTIFICATE Assumes retailer adds own labels/claims greensmart 2010 51 Ideally all commercial timber around the world should come from certified forests, he suggests; 12 per cent is not enough. He also believes that chain-of-custody certification should be required where illegal timbers might threaten a legal supply chain. However, care also needs to be taken with regard to future chain of custody requirements for legal and sustainable Australian grown timber, he says; this is simply adding unnecessary cost for no true gain. gs