IF you’ve ever wondered if there is a way to tell whether the timber products available are ethically sourced wood products or not, then you don’t need to wonder anymore.
Responsible Wood is the Australian national governing body for the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest forest certification system. Responsible Wood is helping people source sustainable timber products across Australia.
What is sustainable timber/wood?
Sustainable timber refers to forest and wood products that are sourced from sustainably and ethically-managed forests. Forest certification identifies that forest owners are managing the forest sustainably. That means taking into consideration the environmental, social and ecological factors such as cultural significance, protecting local wildlife and ensuring that biodiversity is maintained.
However, it’s not just where the timber comes from: the entire chain of custody is considered before something can be classified as ‘sustainable timber’. So, that means the transport and processing of timber as well.
Why is it important to choose ethical timber/wood products?
In the modern world, we understand that the use of timber is necessary; it is used to build homes, buildings, furniture and so much more. However, protecting the source of that timber is also crucial for the environment. Illegal logging practices and land clearing have decimated forests over the years, and that’s something that we as a global community need to stop.
Forests, when managed sustainably, are the ultimate renewable resource. Forest harvesting in Australia is conducted in such a way that trees regrow and regenerate, absorbing carbon and providing habitat for the many animals and plants that live within a sustainably-managed forest. That’s one thing many people forget … the fact that trees store up to 40% of the carbon emissions we produce. So forestry plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change.
How Responsible Wood (PEFC representative in Australia) can help?
As the national governing body for PEFC in Australia, Responsible Wood provides a range of services to ensure forests are certified, as well as much more.
One of Responsible Wood’s primary objectives is to help managed forests gain sustainable timber certification. This means forest owners need to meet certain requirements to prove that they are managing their forests sustainably and ethically. This is done through an independent third‑party audit process. Basically, it means they should be balancing people, the planet and profits.
Owners need to show that their forests are managed with consideration to the environmental needs of the area, cultural sensitivity issues around traditional land owners, and also the economic benefits. Responsible Wood also assists small forest owners by offering a group certification. By pooling resources and working together, it has helped many groups of multiple small forest owners achieve certification.
The supply chain
The forests are just the starting point. Once trees are harvested, they can be used in many different ways. As such, Responsible Wood also helps other businesses in the supply chain become certified as sustainable. Any company that manufactures, processes or sells timber-based products can become certified, provided they meet certain requirements.
One of those requirements, naturally, is that they source their timber from sustainable sources. This type of certification for supply chain and end-user companies allows them to demonstrate to the public that they source timber responsibly. So, if companies displays the Responsible Wood logo on their products, consumers can be assured that the timber used was sourced sustainably and ethically.
While the Responsible Wood logo helps consumers make ethical choices about the timber products they buy, it can help in many other ways. For starters, a database of Responsible Wood-certified companies is provided. So, whether you’re looking for a building company that only builds homes with sustainable timber, or you just need a new coffee table and want a certified local provider, it’s easy to find.
Today, more and more people are looking for sustainable and ethical wood products and the services they use. This means businesses need to demonstrate to the consumer that they operate with a focus on sustainability. Therefore, the Responsible Wood logo is a great way for consumers to make their own decisions about where they spend their money.
In addition to our other work, Responsible Wood helps communities find better ways to experience their natural forests, such as the creation of walking tracks, more signage, rehabilitation of certain areas and much more. These grants are mostly available to regional and rural communities, councils and other organisations.
If you want to know more about the benefits of Responsible Wood then check out more information here. In the meantime, keep looking for the Responsible Wood logo for any timber-based products you buy.