FSC Australia meet with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to discuss Due Diligence
5th April 2017: Following the submission late last year by FSC to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), FSC Australia was invited to present to the Department further information about how the FSC system works. FSC Australia CEO Bill Royce, meet with officials and provided assistance in their assessment of the integrity of the FSC system with a focus for the ‘deemed to comply’ option for due diligence.
It was a fantastic opportunity to present how our system works through all three certifications (FM, CW, CoC) and each of our types of permitted labels; on the role of the CBs in ongoing engagement with CHs; and the role of ASI in quality controlling the CB network.
Highlighted was one of the principal benefits for importers relying on FSC certification is that our system (from foresters to manufacturers, and through the third-party audits conducted by certification bodies licensed by ASI) comprehensively assesses and mitigates risk.
We actively support Australia’s legislation combating illegal logging and specifically endorse the ‘modified approach’ for due diligence for timber legality frameworks.
FSC Australia would look forward to working together with DWAR in educating and providing guidance to importers.
The Australian Forest Products Association is preparing a submission to be sent to the Minister co-signed by prominent forest certification schemes and NGOs operating in Australia on the matter.
Attached below for stakeholders reference, is the full letter of advice FSC Australia has provided to DAWR prepared with the assistance of global Chief Advocacy Officer, John Hontelez.
FSC and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012
Revised April 2015: On 30 November 2012, the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 entered into force. It was the result of five years of considerable debate involving both the timber industry (within Australia as well as in the main timber-providing countries) and NGOs.
The official summary of the Act:
- It prohibits the importation of illegally logged timber and the processing of illegally logged raw logs.
- It also requires importers of regulated timber products and processors of raw logs to conduct due diligence in order to reduce the risk that illegally logged timber is imported or processed.
- Importers of regulated timber products must provide declarations, at the time of import, to the Customs Minister about the due diligence that they have undertaken.
- It provides for inspectors to exercise monitoring, investigation and enforcement powers for the purposes of this Act.
The Australian Government considers that “these measures are an essential first step towards a longer-term goal of Australia sourcing timber products from sustainably managed forests, wherever they are in the world.”
One motive for the Act from the side of the Government is that, without such legislation, effective legality policies in the United States (US) and European Union (EU) may lead to Australia becoming an alternative target for illegal timber traders, meaning that Australia’s moral responsibility for the negative impacts of illegal harvesting would increase.
For more information Download the full statement below.