Australian furniture manufacturers benefit from independent, third party audits

Traditional Owner, Wadawurrung man and VicForests employee Sean Fagan, and RW Sustainability Manager, Matt de Jongh.

The cultural values of active and adaptive management explained via a first‑hand look at the auditing process and the sustainable forest management practices undertaken to meet Responsible Wood sustainable forest management certification.

“I was very impressed with not only the focus by VicForests on ensuring positive biodiversity outcomes, through their active and adaptive forest management, but also their work and engagement with the Traditional Owners,” states Responsible Wood Sustainability Manager, Matt de Jongh.

“It is well known that for about 60,000 years Traditional Owners have actively and adaptively managed Australia’s forests, which have evolved to and adapted to active forest management.

“This rigorous process also ensures that responsibly managed forests, provides access to quality ethically sourced wood to Australian designers and manufacturers of high-end quality furniture. Responsible Wood certified forests are underpinned by sustainable forest management, which incorporates a science-based approach, allowing for the forest to regenerate and regrow, and consumers are increasingly turning to sustainable materials, as evidenced in the Australian Furniture Association’s ongoing research into consumer sentiment.”

“It was wonderful to hear from them on the meaningful partnerships they have formed with VicForests, ensuring their knowledge and practices are carried on for generations to come and great to see VicForests is ensuring its forests are managed sustainably through a comprehensive forest management framework, which included overarching policy and legislation and institutional and administrative arrangements.

“There is a lot of planning and monitoring that goes into forest management, including surveys for plants, animals and cultural heritage sites, as well as stakeholder engagement and monitoring and review mechanisms and these aspects are all taken into account as part of the audit process,” Mr de Jongh said.

In December 2021 Responsible Wood published the latest version of the AS / NZS 4708 Standard for Sustainable Forest Management – requirements.

Click here to register your details and download the new standard.

Published for the first time as a Trans-Tasman Standard, the new Standard provides common benchmarks for sustainably managed Australian and New Zealand forests.

The Australia-New Zealand Standard (AS / NZS 4708), along with the Australian Standard for Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS / NZS 4707) are key components of the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme.

VicForests is one of 28 forests certified under AS 4708 – Sustainable Forest Management. This standard is used by Australian forest growers to make Responsible Wood and PEFC claims on forest and tree-based products. Underpinning certification is a commitment by forest growers to the management and rejuvenation of forests.