‘NZ businesses embrace PEFC as New Zealanders get serious about sustainability’

Covered by Jason Ross, Responsible Wood Marketing and Communications Officer

New Zealand, often considered the land of milk and honey, but also the land of exotic plantations and high conservation value native forests.

Jason Ross – View from New Zealand

Indeed whilst New Zealand’s agricultural trade is legendary, New Zealand’s round wood industry is growing from strength to strength.

In fact behind concentrated milk, sheep and butter, round wood timber is New Zealand’s largest export industry and is a key pillar of New Zealand’s domestic construction industry.

For New Zealander’s forestry is a big part of who they are, what they do and where they are going.

And for environmentally conscious Kiwis, forest certification is all-important; providing forest growers, processors, merchants, businesses and consumers with confidence that scarce forests resources are managed for multi-generational use.

Born from changes to ‘The Forest Act 1949’, sustainable and responsible forestry, by its very nature, is a non-negotiable for New Zealanders.

By the numbers more than 600,000 hectares of New Zealand forest is covered by PEFC’s ‘Sustainable Forest Management’ certification, with more than 30 New Zealand businesses proudly carrying PEFC ‘Chain of Custody.’

That number is growing all the time as demand from New Zealand buyers are incentivising kiwi merchants, retailors and processors to join PEFC and make formal claims on product.

‘PEFC’ is one of two globally recognised forest certification schemes, the other is FSC, with more than 12% of global forests covered by both schemes. In New Zealand alone, most of the commercial forestry is covered by the two schemes.

Over the period of a week, Responsible Wood travelled extensively throughout New Zealand meeting with forest growers, importers and merchants, understanding the drivers behind forest certification in the New Zealand marketplace.

Travelling with my counterpart, Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries, Responsible Wood met with the likes of the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and the New Zealand Tropical Timber Importers Group (NZTTIG); two associations challenging the New Zealand timber and paper industry to embrace forest certification within their supply chains.

Indeed with the announcement of a Joint Australian and New Zealand standard for Sustainable Forest Management under development, New Zealand and Australian businesses could soon use the same standard to achieve PEFC forest certification.

In an increasingly globalised world, where timber is increasingly exported too and imported from far away countries, forest certification is a non-negotiable for businesses looking to do the right thing.

For more information about PEFC forest certification please visit the Responsible Wood website.