Already well underway in Europe and America, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international network promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
Founded in 1993 in response to public concern about deforestation, FSC both finds solutions to problems created by bad forestry practices and rewards those who practice good forestry management.
In addition to certifying forests according to appropriate environmental management, FSC also includes a certified chain of custody that tracks the timber through every stage in the supply chain, from forest to final user. This is monitored by auditors through regular inspections and the label on the final product has a code that confirms the item meets FSC requirements. This chain goes from the forest to pulp to paper to the final printed piece.
With over 35 countries already on board, FSC is supported by organisations such as WWF and Greenpeace. Australian paper suppliers are already showing interest in the program, which will start up in earnest here in the next few months.
Michael Spencer, former FSC head of marketing and communication and currently working in Australia as a business consultant, says the FSC has had a contact person in Australia for a number of years now and been involved mostly with the forest industry mostly on standards and certification issues.
“I feel there is immense opportunity to grow the system in Australia,” says Spencer. “There seems to be a lot of interest from customers in a system that can provide them with reassurance about the origin of the forest products they are buying – a system that has the involvement of all stakeholders. There is also strong interest from industry, particularly those involved in the export sector.”
Spencer says the FSC in Australia will soon become formalised , with its own board, organisation status and website.
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