PEFC adopts NZ forest program of certification


PEFC, the world’s leading forest certification scheme, this week endorsed the New Zealand Forest Certification Scheme during a round of meetings in Geneva. “We are delighted to be the 37th national scheme endorsed by PEFC and to be able to offer this scheme to New Zealand forest owners and managers, processors and others in the value chain,” the chair of the NZ Forest Certification Association Dr Andrew McEwen said. With more than 268 million ha 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. Customers worldwide are able to clearly identify products from sustainably managed forests through the PEFC eco-label. “New Zealand has a long standing reputation for the quality of its forest management and wood manufacturing,” the CEO of PEFC Ben Gunneberg said. “The availability of PEFC certification will enhance that reputation in its extensive overseas markets.” Mr Gunneberg said the New Zealand forest and wood products sector relied heavily on exports with around 70% of production exported. Increasingly, their main markets, particularly Australia, North America and Asia were demanding third-party certification as proof of legality of harvest and quality of forest management. Most of New Zealand’s exports are to PEFC members who recognised the PEFC certification as meeting their import requirements. Mr Gunneberg said with the endorsement of the New Zealand system, the country’s forest owners could now obtain PEFC certification for their responsible forest management practices, enabling processors and others along the forest products supply chain to procure PEFC certified material from local, sustainably managed sources as well as access to new markets. Dr McEwen notified the NZ industry that forest managers, wood processors and others in the value chain interested in having their operations certified to the New Zealand PEFC Standard should now contact their certification bodies. He acknowledged the assistance of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd, financial assistance from the Wood Council of NZ who initiated the project, support from Standards NZ, financial assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AGMARDT and the support of PEFC. Dr McEwen added: “Without their support we could not have so much progress in such a short time.”

• Andrew McEwen .. industry stakeholders should now contact their certification bodies.