One of the most remarkable things about timber, other than its ability to be great building material, is that it’s an organic and sustainable product that provides net benefits to the environment. Not only does timber store carbon through its life cycle but it is recyclable. The production and processing of timber products also use less energy than most other building materials, which in turn results in fewer emissions and less pollution. There is no question about timbers benefit to the environment, and Softwoods along with environmentalists worldwide greatly value it as a resource.
In harnessing the wonders of timber for use in building comes a certain responsibility to ensure that timber as a resource is not misused. Illegal logging and forestry practices seek to undermine the great benefits that timber use provides to the environment by degrading the planet’s stocks of old growth timber and precious wilderness areas.
Softwoods work closely with our suppliers, ensuring they meet Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFS Ltd) Softwoods recognise that we have a responsibility to the environment, customers, suppliers and staff to base our commercial activities on legally harvested forests.
We are committed to purchasing all timber from legally harvested sources and seek evidence of compliance, where needed, from suppliers by operating a due diligence system.
We are committed to complying with the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and, where applicable, the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulations.
We recognise that credible independent certification, 3rd party verification of forest management and chain of custody documentation significantly reduces the risk that timber is illegally harvested when purchasing timber from sources that are anything other than a low risk. Where the Department of Agriculture has issued country specific guidelines, we follow all systems and processes recommended.
Illegal logging is a significant problem in many countries. It degrades forest environments, reduces biodiversity, undermines government regimes and revenues, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deprives local communities of opportunities to improve their quality of life.
The Australian government recently introduced legislation to combat these destructive activities while also supporting the trade in legally harvested timber and timber products.
Why is Australia taking action?
Its estimated that Australia imports AUD $4.4 billion of timber and wood products annually (excluding furniture) $400 million of these imports come from sources with some risk of being illegally logged. As a responsible member of the global community, it is in Australia’s interests to protect plants and animals and the environment, promote sustainable forest management and reduce the depletion of exhaustible natural resources that are threatened by illegal logging.
Australia is not alone in taking action against illegal logging. Our illegal logging laws complement legislation that has been introduced by the European Union and the United States.