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NZ interest in forest certification marks International Day of Forests

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZ hosted the CEO and General Secretary of PEFC (The Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) (PEFC), one of the world’s leading forest certification schemes, on the eve of International Day of Forests (21st March). "Great progress has been made with the introduction of a PEFC scheme for New Zealand in the two years since my last visit", said Ben Gunneberg. "In the last two years, the New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) has been established, it has been recognised as the NZ member of the PEFC General Assembly and had the NZ Forest Certification Scheme endorsed by PEFC in December last year. The first certificates for PEFC chain of custody have already been issued".

With more than 270 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC is the world’s biggest forest certification system, promoting sustainable forest management through independent, third-party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that wood products are produced to the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Over 17,000 businesses worldwide hold PEFC chain of custody certificates. Thanks to its eco-label, customers worldwide are able to clearly identify products coming from legally harvested and sustainably managed forests.

"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. In addition a number of wholesalers, printers and stationery suppliers import PEFC material from other countries", said Dr Andrew McEwen, chair of NZFCA.

Mr Gunneberg was in New Zealand last week to make a presentation at the Forestwood 2016 conference in Auckland. He subsequently met a wide range of forest managers, consultants, printers, stationery companies, processors, importers, union representatives, certification bodies and others. All attendees supported the introduction of PEFC in New Zealand with many expressing interest and commitment to take up the opportunity.

NZFCA has responsibility for the operation of PEFC in New Zealand. The NZ scheme relies on the NZ Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708), which is closely aligned with the Australian Standard. Consequently, NZFCA has contracted Australian Forestry Standard Ltd. (which administers the Australian PEFC scheme), to administer the New Zealand scheme as well.

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