Forestry Tasmania and Forest Stewardship Council certification

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On January 23, David Llewlleyn, the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Energy and Resources announced that he was in Tokyo "talking to Japanese companies about Tasmanian forestry products." A media release issued by Llewlleyn stated that he "will be joined at some of those meetings by Mr Bob Gordon, Managing Director of Forestry Tasmania, and Mr John Gay from Gunns Ltd."[1]

On his return from a trip to meeting Japanese woodchip buyers, Llewlleyn announced that "I've informed them that we will actually be seeking, and I've asked Gunns and I've asked Forestry Tasmania to seek certification under the Forest Stewardship Council as well, the FSC and allegations and accusations about us not dealing with wood in a proper way will be put to bed."[2] (Japanese companies buy more than 80 per cent of Tasmania's woodchips exports).[3]

Gunns itself did not issue a media statement or to the Australian Stock Exchange.[4] However, The Age reported that Gunns chief executive Greg L'Estrange explained that the strong dollar and the global financial crisis were partly behind the slowdown in sales. After interviewing L'Estrange Andrew Darby reported that "perceptions had grown that hardwood chips came from native forests that were not well-managed."[5]

Subsequently, the Tasmanian Premier, David Bartlett, stated that "we are happy to put our forest industry up for the scrutiny of FSC assessment."[6]

"Accreditation schemes like the FSC add weight with our customers and we need the right markets to grow jobs," Mr Bartlett said. "If the guidelines are based on good science and not emotion or Wilderness Society propaganda, we will meet them. We need to recognise markets for our forest products are changing and to assure those markets that we have a fully sustainable accredited industry. It is about protecting and growing forestry jobs and the industry."[6]

Forestry Tasmania's Hans Drielsma told ABC News that "we're quite confident that in an environment where we go through that on a technical basis...we can explain to them in an objective way the processes that we've got in place ... We're quite confident that our forest management and the areas we've got under management should pass those requirements."[3]

Michael Spencer of the Forest Stewardship Council told ABC News that "supply-demand equation has really changed and it's gone from one where the suppliers would say well, this is what we're giving you, to one where the customers are saying this is what we want."[7] Spencer told ABC Radio Nation's PM program that "FSC works on the concept of high conservation values - that's the sort of thing that would be tested through a certification process."[8]

Drielsma downplayed the significance of the announcement. "There's nothing in the standards that refers to old growth. What the FSC standard does talk about is high-conservation-value forest and those values are things that need to be assessed. We assess those already under the Australian Forestry standards and so it's really not anything new - it's the sort of bread and butter of our business," he said.[8]

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References

  1. David Llewellyn, "David Llewellyn In Tokyo Talks", Media Release, January 20, 2010.
  2. "Japanese reassured over Tasmania's woodchip industry", ABC News, January 25, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Forestry Tas declares 'business as usual'", ABC News, January 27, 2010.
  4. "Latest News", Gunns website, accessed January 2010.
  5. Andrew Draby, "Threat to jobs as woodchips stockpile", The Age, February 5, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nick Clark, "Forestry 'open to scrutiny'", The Mercury, January 27, 2010.
  7. "Greens talk down Forestry's FSC chances", ABC News, January 27, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Felicity Ogilvie, "Green groups hope rule change curbs logging", PM, ABC Radio National, February 1, 2010.

External resources

External articles

Statements by Forestry Tasmania on FSC

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