AUSTRALIA and New Zealand are closer to developing a joint trans-Tasman standard for forest management following a joint meeting between the boards of Responsible Wood and the New Zealand Forest certification Association (NZFCA) in Wellington last week.
Responsible Wood and the NZFCA operate PEFC-endorsed sustainable forest management systems in Australia and New Zealand respectively.
A significant outcome of the meeting between Responsible Wood and the New Zealand Forest Certification Association will be the development going forward of a joint Australia-New Zealand standard for Sustainable Forest Management AS/NZS 4708.
“We are confident of getting the right structures in place for the development of a joint standard recognised in both countries,” Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries said.
The New Zealand Forest Certification Association is primarily concerned with forest-related certification activities and is the governing body in New Zealand for the global forest certification scheme PEFC.
Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of NZ CEO Dr Jon Tanner Chief Executive said after the meeting his board was looking forward to developing the joint standard, which had been given the green light by Standards New Zealand.
“The process will probably kick off at the end of the year,” he said.
Standards New Zealand attended the meeting and provided useful feedback and guidance on the joint initiative.
Standards New Zealand is a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and is New Zealand’s leading developer of standards and standards-based solutions, developed in partnership with Standards Australia.
During the meeting, the Responsible Wood board visited the Masterton plywood and LVL operations of Juken New Zealand, 100 km northeast of Wellington.
JNL operates four wood processing mills employing nearly 900 people and manufactures advanced and innovative wood products from selectively-planted, managed and harvested radiata pine sourced from plantation forests in the Northland, East Coast and Wairarapa regions of the North Island.
The New Zealand forest and wood products sector relies heavily on exports with around 70% of production going offshore. Increasingly, the main markets, particularly Australia, North America and Asia, are demanding third-party certification as proof of legality of harvest and quality of forest management.
Most of the countries New Zealand exports to are now PEFC members and recognise PEFC certification as meeting their import requirements.