Australia, New Zealand and beyond: towards the tipping point on forest certification in Asia Pacific
17 March 2014 News
“With the growing momentum in Asia Pacific for the adoption of sustainable forest management practices and PEFC certification, I am looking forward to discussing with stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand how they can best benefit from and support the expansion of PEFC in the region,” said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International in anticipation of his upcoming visit to the region.
Australia already benefits from a PEFC-endorsed national forest certification system, the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS), with about 90% of the production forest area in Australia (or more than 10.5 million hectares) certified to the Australian Standard® for forest management (AS4708–2013). AS4708–2013 also formed the basis for the development of the national New Zealand forest management standard, which is currently being finalized and expected to be subsequently submitted for PEFC endorsement.
“Especially the recent endorsement of the CFCS, the China Forest Certification Scheme, is a significant development for both Australia and New Zealand,” emphasized Ben Gunneberg. “China is the world’s largest manufacturer of forest products, and the endorsement of CFCS has the potential to substantially increase the demand for PEFC-certified material, which is good news for both countries given their close trade relationships.”
There are already about 2 million hectares of forests in China CFCS-certified, and more than 200 professionals have participated in auditor trainings over the past years to be able to respond to the expected increase in demand for certification services following the endorsement by PEFC.
A range of other countries in the region, including India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand are advancing in national system development and exploring options for eventual international recognition by PEFC. Malaysia has already achieved PEFC-endorsement in 2009, and Indonesia submitted its national forest certification system for assessment in November 2012.
“We have been working with stakeholders in China and elsewhere on a wide range of issues related to forest certification for years, from standard setting to system administration and compliance verification, and we are now seeing the results of our commitment to the region,” explained Mr. Gunneberg. “We are moving towards a tipping point on forest certification in the region.”
Rotorua PEFC Seminar
During Mr. Gunneberg's visit to New Zealand, PEFC is holding a seminar on the national and international trade of sustainable and legal forest products, wood and paper, Wednesday 26th March at Princes Gate Hotel, Rotorua, New Zealand. Key Speakers will include:
- Mr Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General, PEFC International
- Prof. Lu Wenming, Technical Director, CFCC Chinese Certication Scheme
- Ms Yu Ling, Director, CFCC Chinese Certication Scheme
- Ms Kayt Watts, International Consultant, Ingenue Consultancy Pty Ltd.
An interactive panel session will follow on from the speakers and will have representatives from different market sectors of the forest and wood products industry and government.