Ernslaw One loses certification over slash damage

Friday 23 Feb 2024

New Zealand's Ernslaw One has been stripped of its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification due to extensive slash damage in and around Tolaga Bay, New Zealand. Ernslaw One is NZ's fourth largest forest manager, with over 95,000 hectares throughout the country.

This damage dates back to 2018 and continues to cause issues, with locals citing concerns about thousands of affected areas. The lack of clear ownership over the wood makes pinpointing responsibility difficult, but filmed evidence points to Ernslaw One being a major grower in impacted areas.

Experts, including Hekia Parata, chair of the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use, view this as a significant environmental disaster and call for wider audits across the country. Ernslaw One, however, is appealing the suspension.

When RNZ asked for a copy of the audit report, a spokesperson for Ernslaw said that they were "not privy" to the findings of the report which led to its suspension, because the audit was carried into the third-party organisation which certified New Zealand forests for the Forest Stewardship Council (SGS) not into Ernslaw itself.

RNZ is seeking comment from SGS. In an email, Ernslaw said it was engaging with SGS on how the suspension could be resolved. "Remediation of the matters underpinning the suspension is well underway," it said.

This incident highlights the importance of forest management and best practices in environmental protection. With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, this will continue to be a growing issue. Industry leaders will be meeting in June this year to discuss these issues in FIEA's Environmental Forestry 2024 event.

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Source: 1News, RNZ

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