THE sustainability managers from the construction team behind Sydney Metro Northwest, Australia’s largest public transport infrastructure project in recent years, have accepted the 2019 Richard Stanton Memorial Prize for Excellence in Sustainable Forest Management.

The award and prize recognises the life of a man devoted to the forest industry, both in Australia and internationally.

Awarded for the first time to joint winners, the award was won by Nick Clarke and Thirukumaran Jallendran (Thiru), formerly sustainability managers for the Sydney Metro Northwest project delivering the Operations, Trains and Stations infrastructure.

The prize recognises the significant contribution of both men in achieving what is the largest complex infrastructure project successfully achieving the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Responsible Wood (RW) project certification.

SCS Global Services conducted the certification assessments under the PEFC/RW and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards and nominated both men for the coveted prize.

Nick Clarke, 2019 Richard Stanton Award winner

In accepting the award, both reflected on the project experience and its lasting power for good. Nick explains:

“In many ways it felt like we were starting from scratch, sourcing industrial scale timber from certified forests was an experience in itself.”

“Australia’s forests are valued for their diverse ecosystems and unique biodiversity, for their ability to regenerate and regrow and sequester carbon, for their provision of wood products and for their aesthetic value and recreational opportunities.”

“Wood really is the ultimate renewable. A sophisticated alternative to other materials that use more carbon in their production.”

“We met the saw millers, travelled to the local Australian forests, where timber is harvested/ grown sustainably, and gained a strong appreciation for forest based sustainable management practices.”

In timber was chosen for the project due to its biophilic qualities and its natural and renewable qualities.

“One of my lasting memories of the project is taking a trip with a station project manager and quality manager into sustainably certified forests; meeting with forest managers in the forest was an amazing experience, it provided the project team with tremendous value.”

Thiru Jallendran, 2019 Richard Stanton Award winner

For Thiru, the take-up of certification by supplies in the project is deeply satisfying.

“A number of ‘chain-of-custody’ certificate holders that have sought Responsible Wood and PEFC chain-of-custody certification for this project and have indicated that they wish to maintain chain-of-custody for future projects.”

“And this is the long term benefit of project certification, it creates a demand for sustainable timber from certified forests, which is carried through the supply chain.”

“Working closely with multiple stakeholders, conducting training, auditing the suppliers, keeping track of the timber movement, collecting and collating required evidence for verification was challenging, but well worth the trouble.”

“In the end, we can proudly say that we managed to step up to the challenge and use only certified timber on the project, which was a world first on a mega infrastructure project.”

The dual award winners worked tirelessly with suppliers far and wide to deliver Responsible Wood and PEFC project certification across seven of eight Sydney Metro stations and four commuter car parks accommodating 4000 car spaces.

The Metro North West Line opened in May 2019 from Tallawong to Chatswood. Metro rail   is being extended from Chatswood under Sydney Harbour through new underground city stations and beyond to the south west. In 2024, Sydney will have 31 new metro stations and a 66km standalone metro railway system.

In July 2020 Responsible Wood opened up nominations for the 2020 Richard Stanton Memorial Award for Excellence in Forest Management or Chain of Custody.

Nominations for the award are open to individuals who have contributed significantly to either forest management or chain-of-custody certification under the Responsible Wood certification program. The award nominees will be those who have contributed to sustainable forest management under AS4708 or chain of custody under AS4707.

The award is open to, but not restricted to, forest owners and managers; chain-of-custody certificate holders; staff of certification bodies; forest scientists and researchers; and designers of products manufactured from sustainable timber.

For more information about the Richard Stanton Award please visit the Responsible Wood website.