PEFC International

The Drive Towards Forest Certification in New Zealand


Source: PEFC International

“International customers are increasingly demanding wood to be sourced sustainably,” said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC, during a recent interview with Radio New Zealand’s Morning Rural News. “Not only are a growing number of countries demanding verification that timber has been sourced legally, but international companies are also playing a big role in the push for sustainability.”

One of these main drivers for certification is the Consumer Goods Forum, a body representing over 400 companies collectively worth around $US3 trillion, including the likes of Proctor and Gamble, Unilever and McDonald’s. Together these companies make up 4% of global GDP and they’re advocating for legality as well as sustainability throughout their supply chains.

Responding to this increasing demand, Standards New Zealand has begun consulting on a draft voluntary standard for sustainable forest management. Based on the standard used in Australia, the New Zealand standard would certify both the legality of the timber and that it was produced in a sustainable way.

During his recent trip to New Zealand Mr. Gunneberg spoke to the National Business Review highlighting how crucial it is to the local timber industry that the New Zealand standard is adopted. “The big interest to have a New Zealand standard is to provide assurances to those key important markets that legality elements have been assessed as well as sustainability,” he continued.

With forests making up 3% of New Zealand’s GDP and about 17,000 employees and their families dependent on this sector, forestry plays an important role within the country. But without certification, timber suppliers are vulnerable to claims of illegally sourced wood and New Zealand-made timber could be blocked from foreign markets in the future.

 “This is where certification systems such as PEFC can ensure that anybody exporting materials from New Zealand, or importing them to those companies in New Zealand, can provide evidence that they are only being sourced from sustainably managed forests,” concluded Mr. Gunneberg.

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