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Monday, 23 August 2021
FSC at the PlaceMakers Conference 2021

FSC BDM (Craig Kenney) chatting at PlaceMakers Booth

Hanging out with the PlaceMakers team at their annual conference

Recently (read: one week prior to lockdown) I was fortunate enough to join the team at PlaceMakers at the PlaceMakers Conference; an annual event that brings the hard-working PlaceMakers teams, from across New Zealand, into one spot to talk about the future of the organisation. The venue was the Vodafone Events Centre, a beautiful building that had no problem holding 60 different booths: each bristling with new products, ideas, and opportunities for the team and their customers.

The purpose of the PlaceMakers Conference is to connect the teams from various stores, familiarise them with future goals and demonstrate new and emerging systems and products. I was asked to join as The Forest Stewardship Council plays a big role in PlaceMakers' sustainability goals. When talking about the timber market, especially tropical timber, there are several factors that should always be explored: where does it come from? How was it harvested? Were ecological values maintained during the harvest? Were any human rights infringed in the process? These are hard questions to answer and tough problems to tackle. Few systems out there can provide an honest solution to these. That’s why PlaceMakers sources FSC-certified timber.

FSC-certified timber comes with assurances that cannot be found in any other forest management certification system. The FSC sets the highest standards for forestry operations and timber product manufacturing. This is achieved by using a network of third-party auditors, standards developed by chamber-balanced groups based on global indicators, and a forest-to-retailer “chain of custody” system that tracks forest products from the spot the tree was felled through every step of its journey to becoming something you use every day. If this sounds complicated that’s because it is! The FSC system is extremely sophisticated but the challenges our forests face are dire, and there is no simple fix.

My role at the PlaceMakers Conference was to explain this concept, in all its complexity, to the wider PlaceMakers team. Of course, there were many other questions thrown my way. I always enjoy being in a space where minds are fresh and often I find the simplest questions can lead to the deepest discussions; enhancing the understanding of everyone involved. I had a great time supporting PlaceMakers at this event and I learned so much in the process. I look forward to my next foray with the team!

If you would like to know more about The Forest Stewardship Council, or if your organisation has any upcoming events that would benefit from some FSC knowledge please reach out to me (Craig Kenney, FSC NZ Business Development Manager) at: c.kenney at nz.fsc point org

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