New Zealand forest owners to benefit from international recognition
10 December 2015 News
“We are very pleased to be able to provide New Zealand’s forest owners and managers with a PEFC-endorsed certification system,” said Dr. Andrew McEwen, chair of the New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA), as New Zealand became the latest country to achieve PEFC endorsement.
With 9.5 million hectares of forest – 7.8 million hectares natural and 1.7 million hectares plantation – more than one third of the country is covered in forest. Forestry plays an important role within the country, with forests making up 3% of New Zealand’s GDP and about 17,000 employees and their families dependent on this sector.
“New Zealand has a long standing reputation for the quality of its forest management standards, particularly in plantation forest management, and the availability of PEFC certification will enhance that reputation in their extensive export markets,” commented Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, following the announcement of the endorsement at the 20th PEFC General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland.
“New Zealand forestry relies heavily on exports, with around 70% of production being exported. Increasingly their main markets, particularly Australia, North America and Asia are demanding third party certification as proof of legality of harvest and quality of forest management. Most of the countries they export to are now PEFC members and recognize PEFC certification as meeting their import requirements,” continued Mr. Gunneberg.
With the endorsement of the New Zealand system, the country’s forest owners can now obtain certification for their responsible management practices, enabling processors and others along the forest products supply chain to procure PEFC-certified material from local, sustainable managed sources, as well as access to new markets.
“We also acknowledge the assistance we have had from the Wood Council of New Zealand, Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFS) – PEFC’s National member in Australia – both of whom helped us developing the system, and PEFC International for providing international endorsement,” added Dr. McEwen.
The newly endorsed New Zealand Forest Certification Scheme is based on the New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708:2014). The New Zealand Standard is an adoption of the Australian Forestry Standard (AS 4708:2013) which is the basis for the PEFC endorsed Australian Forest Certification system.
All photographs by Jorge Romero (JRPD).