FSC welcomes this as an important step towards banning destructive illegal logging practices across the planet. Australia’s Act follows the United States and precedes the European Union, where a similar law enters into force in March next year.
Compliance with national laws is the first step to responsible forest management, and an essential part of FSC’s certification requirements. Robust legislation in chief processing and consuming nations can help drive stronger enforcement in producing countries.
However, existing national legislation in timber-producing countries is not a guarantee of environmentally and socially responsible forest management practices, protection of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), or prohibition of natural forest conversion. That is why FSC promotes going beyond legality to pursue FSC certification.
While the prohibition of imports and processing of illegal timber comes into force now, the Australian government will, in the next two years, work on specific requirements on how companies can prevent illegal timber from entering their trade. FSC certification should be sufficient evidence of timber legality and recent additions to its internal rules, triggered by the EU Timber Regulation, will make this even more apparent. FSC is optimistic that the Australian authorities will view the FSC system as providing sufficient evidence of legality.
Further reading: See analysis of Australian act and relation to FSC.
Natalie Reynolds, Chief Executive, FSC Australia, Nreynolds at fscaustralia point org
John Hontelez, Chief Advocacy Officer, FSC International, j.hontelez at fsc point org