Friday, 23 March 2018
A look back on the FSC Australia Public Forum
The FSC Australia Public Forum brought together over 100 stakeholders from industry, academia, the environmental movement, government, and business engage in a dialogue about responsible forestry in Australia.
The major themes of the day were,
- the shape of the industry in Australia,
- consumer awareness and attitudes towards FSC-certification and sustainability,
- Companies using FSC to add value to their products and brand
The day was characterised by frank and robust discussion about the challenges and opportunities that exist in the Australian context.
Attendees were able to hear from Director General, Kim Carstensen, who emphasised the need to embrace disagreement and dialogue in order to shift the forestry industry towards more responsible practices. As Kim said, “if everybody is happy then there is a problem.”
FSC is unique in that we bring together passionate stakeholders from all sides of the issue, and try to reach consensus on the best way forward. This can be our challenge but it is definitely our strength.
The event was opened by event partner Bunnings, whose commitment to FSC spans more than a decade. Through a short video, attendees saw firsthand the positive impact that FSC-certification is having on the workers, communities, and forests in the West Papuan region from which Bunnings have been sourcing their Merbau decking.
Merbau is a target for illegal logging, resulting in deforestation, making certification all the more important. Bunnings are leading the shift towards responsible timber procurement and in doing so, demonstrating that responsible forestry is sustainable and achievable. We hope that their actions encourage other businesses to join. Read more about Bunnnings and Merbau in our blog.
Highlights from the day include:
Meaningful engagement can be challenging, but it is absolutely crucial to maintaining a trustworthy, well-respected, and stable certification system. Dr Jacki Schirmer, from the University of Canberra, advocated for FSC’s inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement.
The need to increase consumer awareness of FSC presents challenges and opportunities for FSC and our stakeholders. Forest and Wood Products Australia’s, Ric Sinclair, and market research company, pollinate’s,Howard Parry Husbands discussed consumer perceptions of FSC, timber, and sustainability in the domestic market.
Asaleo-Care and Tetra Pak use FSC as part of their broader commitment to sustainability. For them, certification is a value-add, contributing to their license to brand themselves as sustainability leaders in their industries. Asaleo-Care’s, Rochelle Lake, and Tetra Pak’s, Manjula Murugesan, spoke about their organisations’ successful strategies for reaching B2B and B2C customers.
Auditing agency, SCS Global Services’, Nick Capobianco, gave a clear and simple explainer on the rigours of the auditing process.
WWF’s Tim Cronin explained why WWF support FSC, and outlined the conditions under which support is maintained.
We would like to thank our thoughtful and well-informed speakers and session openers:
- Adam Morton (Bunnings),
- Warrick Jordan (the Wilderness Society),
- Jeff Fielkow (Tetra Pak),
- Dr Jacki Schirmer (University of Canberra),
- Nick Capobianco (SCS Global Services),
- Rochelle Lake (Asaleo Care),
- Manjula Murugesan, (Tetra Pak),
- Howard Parry-Husbands (pollinate),
- Tim Cronin (WWF),
- Ric Sinclair (FWPA),
... and of course, FSC Director General Kim Carstensen.
Finally, we would like to give a special thank you to our sponsors who made the event possible, Bunnings, Tetra Pak, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Australian Paper, The Wilderness Society, BioPak, Buyecogreen,and Officeworks.