VicForests ends bid for FSC tick

Friday 21 Aug 2020

Victoria’s state logging agency has abandoned its latest attempt to gain sustainability certification from the Forest Stewardship Council Australia, saying it was concerned it would not be fairly assessed because three of the council’s directors are involved in forest activism.

In an online statement, VicForests said it had decided to postpone its attempt to gain certification by the end of 2020, citing concerns over an ongoing Federal Court case and some directors of the council, the local branch of an international sustainability initiative.

“Three directors of FSC Australia ... are leading public activism and advocacy, calling for the complete cessation of native forestry and actively seeking to discredit VicForests," the statement said. Pandemic restrictions on auditors working in the field, and challenges arising from last summer’s bushfires also prompted the decision, it said.

VicForests is appealing a Federal Court ruling in May that found it had unlawfully logged areas of critically endangered Leadbeater's possum habitat. The Federal Court decision prompted hardware giant Bunnings to end its timber supply contract with Victoria's logging agency. Another major customer, Officeworks, has said that by the end of the year all timber for its paper products will come from either FSC-accredited sources or recycled products.

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Source: brisbanetimes

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