PEFC certification strengthens in NZ
Illegal forest management practices are a global problem. Governments and markets around the world are increasingly requiring proof of legality for harvested wood products.
This has created a demand for labelling and endorsement of sustainably managed and legally harvested forest and wood products.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an eco-certification system that is recognised as providing assurance of legality and sustainability and is increasingly required for access to some of NZ's major markets.
Globally, more than 300 million hectares of forest have achieved PEFC certification, making it the world's largest forest certification system, promoting sustainable forest management, verified through independent, third-party certification.
More than 18,800 businesses worldwide hold PEFC chain of custody certification, which ensures that material reaching consumers has originated from a PEFC certified forest.
PEFC certification became available in New Zealand in 2016. This followed the recognition of New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) as the PEFC national governing body for New Zealand in early 2015.
"It is fantastic to see the first forest area in New Zealand achieve PEFC certification. The certification of these plantation forests will enable processors and others along the forest products supply chain to procure PEFC-certified material from local, sustainably managed sources," Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International said.
"On a personal level, it has been wonderful to see New Zealand move so swiftly along the PEFC journey; joining the alliance and achieving PEFC endorsement in 2015, and now their first PEFC certified hectares. And we look forward to many more to come!"
PEFC endorsement for the New Zealand forest certification scheme based around the New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708) was achieved at the end of 2015.
In the last month, three forestry companies RMS Forests Ltd (the former Wellington Regional Council forests), Hancock Forest Management NZ Ltd and Timberlands Ltd have achieved PEFC certification for more than 400,000 hectares of forest - about 20% of NZ's plantation forest estate.
Two more forest management companies are in the process to be certified.
In addition, 27 companies involved in forest products processing and other supply chain activities (timber products suppliers, printers, stationery merchants, etc) are certified to the PEFC chain of custody standard.
This is providing opportunities for NZ forest produce to participate in export markets that demand PEFC certification as a way of demonstrating legal and sustainable forest management.
"It is really encouraging to see forest managers adopting PEFC on such a scale, so soon after we were able to bring it to New Zealand", said NZFCA Chair, Dr Andrew McEwen.
"The New Zealand forest and wood products sector relies heavily on exports with around 70% of production being exported. Increasingly their 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."
Mr Colin Maunder, Forest Risk Manager for Timberlands Limited said: "the company is proud to achieve PEFC certification which now complements our existing certification through application of a systematic management approach and strengthening our commitments to managing carbon."
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