29 Jan 2015

Sustainability certs 'more important'

6:25 am on 29 January 2015

Forest owners say having an alternative sustainability certification scheme for growers and wood processors could help with market access.

A new industry body, the New Zealand Forest Certification Association, had been accepted to represent this country in the largest international scheme for registering forests that were sustainable managed.

The Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) could be available in New Zealand by the end of the year.

About half of the forests here were already certified under another international scheme, the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC.

But Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said having a choice of schemes would be useful.

He expected some foresters would sign up to both programmes because they were becoming a condition of access in more export markets.

"Increasingly we are seeing certification as a bottom line, so you won't get into the markets, especially the premium markets without certification.

"The retailers are demanding it and the certification schemes have done a pretty good job on marketing themselves so even in places like China where a few years ago it wouldn't have been so important, it's now being a part of all business."