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Greenpeace furniture ratings backed by forest owners

19 Dec 2008

New Zealand-grown wood is well-suited for use in decking, outdoor furniture and joinery, and comes from legal and sustainable sources, says the NZ Forest Owners Association.

Chief executive David Rhodes says a Greenpeace initiative that rates the commitment of retailers of wooden outdoor furniture to sourcing products from sustainably managed forests is a good idea.

“It will be a year at least before a government plan comes into force requiring lumber and wood products made from imported kwila to carry labels verifying that it comes from legal sources. So in the meantime, anything that encourages retailers to act ethically has to be a good thing,” he says.

“Illegal logging and the associated destruction of rainforests is immensely damaging to the environment, wildlife and to indigenous communities that rely on forests for their food and shelter. It also unfairly sullies the reputation and undermines the markets for all wood products, even those derived from sustainably managed plantation forests.”

Kwila, also known as merbau, is a tropical hardwood most often imported for use in decking or as outdoor furniture. It has been targeted for a new government labelling requirement because it is thought to make-up more than 80 per cent of illegally-sourced timber entering New Zealand.

Mr Rhodes assures consumers that New Zealand plantation forests and farm woodlots are sustainably managed.

“If your retailer says a wooden product comes from a New Zealand plantation forest, then you can be assured that it comes a legal and sustainable source. But if it’s a tropical hardwood, you need to be asking whether the product has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or similar certification.

“New Zealand forest owners have to meet strict environmental standards laid down by district councils under the Resource Management Act. In addition, most also comply with the Plantation Forestry Environmental Code of Practice and/or have Forest Stewardship Council certification.

“It is hard to find a land use that is more environmentally friendly than plantation forestry as practised in New Zealand. Also, our government strictly enforces laws relating to the sustainable harvest of logs from native forests.”

For more information about the sustainability of plantation forestry, as well as the uses of plantation-grown timbers, he refers consumers to the NZ Wood website, www.nzwood.co.nz

For more information, contact David Rhodes, tel 0274 955 525