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Buy paper and wood responsibly

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Help make the harvesting of the world's forests environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Buy Forest Stewardship Council certified timber and wood products.

The clear-felling of the forests of the Amazon or Borneo is done to supply wood and wood products for markets such as Australia. We stop buying it; they stop cutting it. The Forest Stewardship Council is a global certification organisation that allows its label to be used on wood and wood products that have come from forests that are managed in a way that:

  • Maintains the forest's biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes (environmentally appropriate);
  • Helps both local people and society at large to enjoy long term benefits and also provides strong incentives to local people to sustain the forest resources and adhere to long-term management plans (socially beneficial); and
  • Are sufficiently profitable, without generating financial profit at the expense of the forest resources, the ecosystem or affected communities (economically viable).

Australian Forestry Standard

The Australian Forestry Standard was developed by Australians for use within Australia by Australian forest owners or managers – it is Australia’s only national forest management standard for native forest and plantations.

The AFS document defines the nine criteria and forty requirements that the Australian Forestry Standard Technical Reference Committee first published in 2003. It covers the environmental, economic, social and cultural values of forests utilised for wood production.

Australian Forestry Standard, AS 4708―2007 is a full Australian Standard® having been recognised by Standards Australia in August 2007.

The Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) has achieved Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorsement, the world's largest forest certification system.

Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS) forests are independently (third party) certified for environmental, social and economic sustainability, and are managed and harvested in accordance with all relevant State and Australian government environmental regulations.
Furthermore, AFCS forests are managed in accordance with the international requirements of the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes), an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, which provides certified proof of sustainable management.

Sustainable management of forests ensures that the amount of timber that grows back each year is greater than, or equal to, the amount harvested. Ecological sustainability in forests is ensured by management practices such as the maintenance of a high percentage of carefully planned reserves and special habitats to preserve endangered species, biodiversity, soil and water quality.

If AFCS certified wood and wood based products is passing through a chain of processors and manufacturers, the Chain of Custody (CoC) standard and audits to the standard exist to ensure proof of origin. The AFCS through its AFS logo or PEFC logo provides you with an assurance that the wood or timber based product specified for a fit out, renovation, addition or construction project has been sourced from a sustainably managed forest and tracked through the supply chain to ensure it maintains an unbroken chain of custody.

Audits of Chain of Custody must be done annually to retain certification, and the independence of these audits is assured by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia & New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) or the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) accredited certification bodies. AFCS certified wood and wood based products are high quality, cost effective, Australian grown, and readily available in a large range of species and products, such as decorative veneers, timber framing and flooring.

How to do it now!

Buy Forest Stewardship Council or Australian Forestry Standard certified wood and wood products - When you are next looking for wood for your new deck or extension, or even just paper for your printer, demand and purchase wood products that have the FSC or AFS certification on them.

Reflex brand paper, produced locally at Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill, attained Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody certification in July 2006. The FSC certification applies to Reflex A4 80gsm Pure White, A4 Colours and Recycled Pure White manufactured at Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill. Reflex Recycled is now the only office paper available in Australia or New Zealand that combines FSC mixed certification with 50% recycled fibre diverted from Australian landfill.

The largest private forestry company operating throughout Gippsland, HVP Plantations, is the first forestry company in Australia to be awarded international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Other certification achieved through The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is AFS – Australian Forestry Standard. Certification involves independent, third party assessment of HVP’s silvicultural practices, environmental management and continuous improvement program against internationally recognised standards. It also provides a chain of custody certification, through processing and manufacturing, to the end-user. The company is subject to regular audits to maintain its Australian Forestry Standards (AFS) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications.

Support the Forest Stewardship Council - With over 100 million hectares in more than 80 countries certified according to FSC standards, the FSC relies on member, donors and supporters to continue its noble mission. Find out more about the Forest Stewardship Council.

To buy wood products that are FSC certified try the following product database:

Buy recycled paper - Buying recycled paper complements our effort to use less paper and recycle it, and significantly reduces the impact on the environment.

Some things to aim for when purchasing recycled paper:

  • 100% recycled content with a high percentage of ‘post consumer’ fibre.
  • Non-recycled content sourced from places certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or Australian Forestry Standard.
  • Paper of the lightest possible weight - 80gsm is average.
  • Paper manufactured in Australia (thus avoiding transport energy).
  • Unbleached paper.
  • Non-coloured papers.
  • Water-based adhesives and mailing labels.
  • If you must use bleached paper, choose one that uses the most environmentally friendly production process. The following list starts with the friendliest and works down:
    1. Paper bleached using Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) processes is the best. The Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) is not as good, but OK.
    2. Paper bleached using oxygen delignification or extended delignification, and bleached without elemental chlorine.
    3. Paper bleached using oxygen delignification or extended delignification, and bleached using some residual elemental chlorine.
    4. Paper bleached without using elemental chlorine but not made using oxygen delignification or extended delignification.
    5. Paper bleached using only elemental chlorine, and sulphite pulps, even if they are TCF, should be AVOIDED.

Additional resources

Why is this action important?

Forestry practices can range from clear-felling entire forests, with near total devastation for all living things in the forest, to selective harvesting of trees in a manner that preserves the ecosystem for future harvesting and its natural inhabitants. This action informs you of a way to vote with your dollars for a sustainable, equitable and ecologically diverse future for the generations to come.