Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFSL) announced the commencement of the five-yearly revision process of the Australian Standards for Sustainable Forest Management (AS 4708) and Chain of Custody of wood and wood products (AS 4707).
“The revision will be a concentrated and collaborative process spanning two years,” AFS chair Geoff Gorrie said.
“The intensive public participation plan for the project will fully engage all stakeholders groups and interested parties within and connected to sustainable forestry and the supply chain of wood and wood products.
“Coupled with rigorous adherence to international processes and guidelines, as well as an emphasis on science and evidence, the review project will ensure that internationally recognised Australian standards continue to be regarded as the most credible and robust forest certification tools.”
Responsibility of the reviews and ultimate decision making powers will reside with Standards Reference Committees (SRCs), one for each Australian standard.
SRCs members will consist of representatives who cover scientific, environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of sustainable forest management and wood production in Australia. Nominations from representative national organisations, industry bodies and stakeholders to participate on the SRCs are now being distributed and will be advertised in leading trade publications.
“There are many places that need to be filled and AFSL is ensuring that all interested parties are aware of their ability to be involved either on the committee or through public consultation,” Gorrie said.
“Because the revision will ensure a wide coverage of topics and criteria, engagement with stakeholders and interested parties is a priority.”
Dr Paul Biggs, a leader in Australian forest management for more than 25 years, has been appointed chair of the SRC for Sustainable Forest Management. His strong technical and scientific background is well suited to the position.
AFSL chief executive Kayt Watts said the revision process involved a public call for comment on both Australian standards.
“It will be interesting to see the types of issues and aspects of the criteria of the standards that will be raised in this process, especially in this ever changing forestry and wood production environment,” she said.
“AFSL is committed to the revision process, which enables a fully transparent and inclusive consultation.”
Fitzpatrick Woods Consulting has been appointed to provide an independent management service to the revision project, especially relating to collaborative stakeholder management and standards revision support to the SRCs.
The company is a consultancy specialist with expertise in the Australian and regional forestry and forest products industries and in stakeholder identification and management.
Geoff emphasised: “Revision of the Australian Standards for Forest Management and wood products Chain of Custody will require significant support from industry, Government and all stakeholders.
“We will soon be engaging with industry partners and the federal government to discuss assistance options. Needless to say, the revision process cannot be completed without considerable support.”