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Friday, 28 June 2019
FSC Unsung Heroes - who's behind FSC?

Nick Capobianco, Director of Green Marketing Concepts and SCS Global Services Lead Auditor

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of FSC. To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are celebrating the unsung heroes of FSC in the Asia Pacific region.

Nick Capobianco manages an auditing and consulting business called Green Marketing Concepts and is the Oceania representative for certification body, SCS Global Services.

He has been involved with FSC for more almost 15 years. From developing Australia’s first FSC certified timber veneer panel products, to auditing FSC Chain of Custody Certificate holders, and traveling around Australia and New Zealand with FSC educating businesses about FSC Certification – Nick knows FSC inside and out.

Nick has been an eager supporter of FSC Australia from its early days. His sustainability journey started back in the early 2000s when he was a senior executive at The Laminex Group.

“Whilst working as the Manager – Building Products at Laminex, a growing number of environmental performance questionnaires and sales enquiries about wood and product certification made their way to me and that is when I started learning more about Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) and the market drivers for more sustainable practices in the building industry.”

“I quickly realised the value of independent verification. Credible third party eco-labels provide businesses with the tools and confidence to make environmental claims, and helps buyers identify who they can trust.”

Catalysing positive change

It was while volunteering as a member of Green Building Council Australia (GBCA) marketing committee and working at Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) that Nick learned about ecolabelling programs and forest certification schemes such as FSC.

“From here on, I became increasingly convinced of the importance of third-party certification schemes such as FSC to drive the market towards more sustainable practices, that are good for our planet and our future.”

“I believe in the ability of FSC to stimulate positive change at the forest level. I’ve seen supply chains and buying behaviour shift towards FSC certified wood products, which sends important signals to the broader industry about responsible forest practices.”

“Companies either want to differentiate themselves based on their environmental credentials, mitigate risks to their brand or maintain their relevance by keeping up with market demands. Across several industries, I’ve seen major retailers and producers shift to FSC and influence the rest of the industry to take up certification.”

Australia’s first FSC certified timber veneer panels

As manager of the Laminex “Green First Initiative’, Nick led a project to establish Australia’s first GECA and FSC certified timber veneer panels.

“I worked with specifiers, researches, and a number committed colleagues and technical experts within the business to establish an entirely new supply chain from a small timber producer in Dungog NSW for Australian timber species, local veneer slicers and specialist European Veneer producers in Italy to Laminex own wood panel pressing facilities”

The ambitious initiative won the Victorian ICN Industry Capability Network award, and led to Laminex becoming FSC certified across 40 sites in Australia. The decorative panels would go on to be used in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), Australia’s first six-star Green Star public building.

The potential for projects to drive responsible practices

Nick has been auditing to FSC standards for more than 11 years and one of the highlights of Nick’s work is his involvement in FSC project certifications and witnessing the ability of major projects to influence supply chains to source certified timber and wood products.

“Each time there’s an FSC certified project the specifier and builder create awareness and demand for FSC certified timber and wood products.

“Large Building Projects are key to driving change in supply chains and educating stakeholders, suppliers and the general public about sourcing responsible forest products. This happens through the design, specifications and procurement process. Businesses in the tender process have to learn about FSC and to win the job, they need to become FSC certified. “

“This process builds an FSC certified micro-economy and demonstrates the positive impact that these big players can have when they make a choice to source responsibly through FSC.”

“When I speak to the members involved in those projects, most acknowledge that FSC certification is about more than just ticking a box and that their buying decisions can reward and influence responsible forest management practices.”

More recently, Nick has presented an introductory webinar on FSC Chain of Custody Certification for FSC Australia. Watch the webinar on the FSC Australia Website.

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