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Preventing Illegal Logging

On November 28, 2012 the Federal Government passed Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 which is now law in Australia but will only be put into practice by November 2014. We believe environmentally responsible businesses should be ensuring that they meet or exceed the acts requirements already. Read what we can do now!

Illegal harvesting of timber is a global problem with serious impacts and the activity is not just occurring in developing nations. It has caused serious forest degradation, species extinction through loss of habitat and biodiversity, threatened sustainable livelihoods and is contributing to global carbon emissions. Australia is also is taking responsibility for the protection of the lungs of the earth - the old age forests that are irreplaceable.

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In many countries where illegal logging occurs, the corrupt trade in this timber is deeply entrenched at the highest levels of government. For example, impoverished villagers in Madagascar are bribed with cash and rice to reveal the location of precious rosewood and ebony trees. Cheap labour is then paid $2.50 per day to manually haul the heavy logs out of the dense forest. The merchants who take these are then paid $50+ per log. The end price at the export point however can exceed $1300 each log. It has been estimated that 100,000 of these rare trees have been taken in the forests of Madagascar in the past year. 

Here are some statistics:

  • It is estimated that 5 to 10% of global industrial round wood trade is illegally harvested.
  • A 2012 study shows that illegal logging accounts for up to 30% of the global logging trade and contributes to more than 50% of tropical deforestation in Central Africa, the Amazon Basin and South East Asia.
  • In Russia it is between 20 and 50% depending on the region.
  • Between 50% and 90% of logging from the key countries in these regions is being carried out by organised criminal entities.
  • In developing countries this amounts to a loss of assets of approximately US$23 billion every year.
  • It is estimated that about 9% or AUD$400 million worth of Australia’s forest product imports are from timber sources that are questionable.

With the new Australian legislation in place there will be punishments for those who do not meet the regulations once implemented in November 2014. This Act will monitor two key points of entry into the Australian timber market, at the border in imported products and at the timber processing plants where raw logs are processed.

What we can do now! 

Right now a specifier can ensure that the timber used on their project is proven to be legally harvested by specifying a recognised forest certification scheme with a rigorous chain of custody regime. The two certification schemes recognised by the market leading Green Star system are FSC®and PEFC/AFS.

Read more about how to get the specification wording right.

 At Supawood we believe that environmental sustainable development is a key obligation in our business and a prerequisite of responsible architecture.

Not only has SUPAWOOD been certified and audited since 2008 to supply products under both of these schemes but Supawood have made a policy decision to only purchase chain of custody certified material wherever available.alt

This means that SUPAWOOD can supply most of our products with PEFC/AFS Chain of Custody certification for no extra charge or longer lead-times.

Products which can be supplied PEFC certified for no extra charge include SUPACOUSTIC Custom, SUPACOUSTIC PLK, SUPACOUSTIC NCK, SUPALINE Custom, SUPATILE 10, SUPATILE DIT, SUPATILE DIT, SUPATILE SLAT (most finish options), SUPASLAT CUSTOM (most options).

Other products can also be supplied Certified but there may be lead-time or cost implications.

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We can all be responsible in our choice of suppliers. Monitor the source of the timber products we use and insist importers and processors are only purchasing from a chain-of-custody certified supplier. In this way we can ensure that the timber products we are using are actually contributing to communities at the source and also not being destructive to environment.

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