Timber Certification Explained: What you need to know about FSC and Responsible Wood
Consumers and professionals want to be assured that timber products are coming from responsibly and sustainably managed forests.
But with multiple certification schemes available in Australia, how do you know what the best environmental choice is?
Certification in Australia
The two largest internationally recognised forest certification schemes are PEFC (called Responsible Wood in Australia) and FSC.
These are the two main certification schemes within Australia.
Certification is a voluntary market-driven process that’s got two components, the first being forest management certification and the second being chain-of-custody certification.
Auditors look at a variety of factors to grant these certifications. The forest management audit considers social, economic and environmental aspects.
Everything from ensuring workers are being paid well and under their appropriate awards to ensuring that the environment is being managed so that water is not being contaminated and special species and vegetation communities are not being harmed.
Forest certification shows that a timber product has come from a responsibly and sustainably managed forest.
While the management of forests is essential to achieving certification, it doesn’t end there.
Ensuring that the entire supply chain is also meeting the same high standards is also looked at.
Chain of Custody ensures that the consumer knows that the end product they purchase has come from a sustainably managed forest.
What is the difference between Responsible Wood and FSC?
While these two accreditations hold slight differences, auditors from both Responsible Wood and FSC are looking at a range of similar aspects to prove a forest is sustainably managed.
The two certifications almost mirror one another but have minor differences in stakeholder engagement and conservation values.
Which scheme is the best choice for sustainability?
Either! Just ensure that you select a timber that is certified.
Meeting the various criteria to obtain these high-ranking certifications is not easy. Still, it is a process that consumers who want to be confident in their choice of sustainable timber can be trusted.
Whether you go with FSC or Responsible Wood, there has been an enormous amount of effort by the forest manager and the processors to obtain the certification.
Architects, builders, specifiers and consumers can with confidence, use timbers certified under either scheme knowing that they’re certified under a global standard and locally being managed under a very rigorous forest practices system.
The most responsible choice? Buy local.
Aside from certification, purchasing local timber is an important consideration to create a smaller carbon footprint.
When looking into timber products, suppliers should first look for certification, regardless of which system. Secondarily, buy local.
When you buy local, the timber is from a nearby forest and is not being transported across the world. This saves unnecessary burning of fossil fuels and therefore minimises the carbon footprint.
Tasmanian timbers tick both sustainability boxes.
Tasmania has a very high level of rigour and a world-class forest practices system that is held with very high regard internationally.
When purchasing Tasmanian Timber, consumers can be confident that they’re getting a piece of timber from a forest that is certified sustainable – and it’s local.