Forest management is a long-term process. The results of good practice can often only become apparent after decades.
Independent certification against the Australian Forestry Standard (AS4708) by an accredited certification body provides forest owners and managers with recognition of their responsible management practices.
As consumers, businesses and governments become more concerned with their environmental footprints, markets for certified paper and wood products continue to grow.
Through its link with PEFC, AFS certification provides forest owners and managers - families, communities and companies - with access to the global marketplace for certified products.
Key steps towards obtaining AFS Sustainable Forest Management Certification include:
- Ensure that your management practices meet the strict sustainable forest management requirements set out in the Australian Forestry Standard (AS4708).
- Locate an accredited certification body and establish initial contact by phone, email or personal meeting.
- Arrange for an independent certification body to assess your forest management practices against the Standard and check that all requirements are fulfilled. This is done by making a formal application for certification with the certification body of your choice. Based on this application, you will receive a proposal, including a cost estimate.
- Costs of sustainable management certification are fixed by individual certification bodies; due to the competitive nature of the certification business prices may vary. You will also be required to pay an annual AFS/PEFC notification fee in Australia OR PEFC Notification Fee in New Zealand.
- Provide all relevant documentation as requested by the certification body.
- A field visit by auditors from the certification body will be arranged. Field visits include visits to selected sites in the forest and further documentation reviews, and interviews with relevant staff.
- Resolve, if necessary, any non-compliance issues. This is a pre-requisite before a sustainable forest management certificate can be issued.
- If your management practices are found to be compliant with certification requirements, you will be issued an AFS certificate. The certificate is usually valid for a period of three years. You will be required to submit your forests to an annual verification audit to ensure that your operations continue to comply with requirements.
- Subject to the payment of all fees the forest manager's certificate will be registered on the AFS and PEFC certification registers as evidence to customers and stakeholders that the forest manager has met the requirements of the Standard.
- If you wish to use the AFS and/or PEFC logos you will need to enter into a logo licence agreement with AFS Ltd.
- Renew certification. In order to renew your certification upon expiry of the certification certificate, you will be required to undergo a new certification audit.
For further information or for any questions about AFS sustainable forest management certification, please contact us via Contact Us.