Standards Review Update
The review of the Australian Standard for Forest Management (AS4708) is continuing. The Standards Reference Committee responsible for the review (SRC4708) met in early November and considered the submissions from the second public consultation period. It is anticipated that a ballot will be held before the end of 2012 to determine whether the Committee has achieved a consensus on the wording of a revised version of the standard. There is a clear procedure for achieving and demonstrating consensus which includes mechanisms to resolve any disputes.
The AFS Ltd Board recently endorsed the membership of the Standards Reference Committee for the review of the Australian Chain of Custody Standard (AS4707) and it is anticipated that this review process will get underway in the near future. AS4707 serves essentially the same purpose as the PEFC International Chain of Custody Standard (PEFC ST 2002:2010) and therefore it is hoped that the review process can achieve a high level of consistency between the two standards to improve efficiency of the certification scheme as a whole. This process also needs to take into account and accommodate to the greatest extent possible both the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the progress of the Australian Government's Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011.