24 January 2015
With the acceptance of the NZ Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) as New Zealand's PEFC Member, New Zealand forest growers gain visibility in the world's leading forest certification system. "We are delighted to be accepted into membership of PEFC and to represent PEFC in New Zealand" says Dr Andrew McEwen, chair of NZFCA.
With more than 260 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world's leading forest certification system, promoting Sustainable Forest Management through independent third party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests.
Many of the countries that purchase New Zealand forest products (or compete with NZ exports) are already PEFC members, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Russia, and USA. Other major markets such as India are also looking at joining. "It makes sense for New Zealand forest growers to be in a position to supply PEFC certified forest products to all these markets" says Dr McEwen.
NZFCA hopes to have a PEFC endorsed certification system based on the New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708:2014) in place later this year. The NZ Standard is an adoption of the Australian Forestry Standard (AS 4708:2013) which is the basis for the PEFC endorsed Australian Forest Certification system. NZFCA is working closely with Australian Forestry Standard Ltd., in order to benefit from the close relationships between the two countries with many forest owners, managers and processors operating in both. "We acknowledge the assistance we have had from Australian Forestry Standard Ltd., financial assistance from the Wood Council of NZ who initiated the project, support from Standards NZ, financial assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the support of PEFC", said Dr McEwen. "Without their support we could not have so much progress in such a short time."
"We are pleased for New Zealand to join PEFC, and its commitment to support sustainable forest management" said Ben Gunneberg, PEFC Secretary General. "We appreciate the tremendous efforts of stakeholders in New Zealand in establishing NZFCA, and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration advancing responsible forestry and trade in forest products."
An increasing number of companies in New Zealand are taking on PEFC Chain of Custody certification, enabling them to manufacture and trade PEFC-certified products and utilize the PEFC label, which has been found to be the most trusted forest certification label globally. Until now, this only has only been possible with imported material. Endorsement by PEFC of a New Zealand forest management certification system will allow New Zealand forest owners to obtain certification for their responsible management practices and allow processors and others along the forest products supply chain will be able to procure PEFC-certified material from local, sustainable managed sources. "This will be beneficial for all those along the forest products value chain, from forest growers to manufacturers and exporters as it opens up opportunities for new markets for forest products produced from NZ forests", said Dr McEwen.
NZFCA was established in 2014 with an initial target of bringing the PEFC certification system to New Zealand. Members include forest growers, processors and organisations associated with New Zealand forests.
Chairperson, NZ Forest Certification Association Inc.