In order to protect the world's forests we need to urgently reshape the global wood products industry by shifting wood and paper production out of native forests and into ecologically responsibly managed plantations that are fully certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).New research released by Markets for Change shows that there are currently enough available plantation resources - both in softwood and hardwood - to almost completely replace the need for native forest-based products.
This is true for all categories, and includes imported timber and paper. Some market adjustment and investment in processing capacity is required, but the solution to our native forest crisis is achievable and can happen relatively quickly.
A new report released on 8th May titled "Retailing the Forests" Confronting the Australian retail sector's involvement in native forest destruction", reveals for the first time the full extent of the links between destruction of Australia's native forests and the everyday consumer products on the shelves and showroom floors of many top retailers including Freedom Furniture, Bunnings, Officeworks and Coles.
The report released by Markets for Change (MFC), a new environmental non-governmental organisation focussed on urgently reforming the impact of business on the environment, has found through over 500 surveys, that these giant retailers are all selling products such as tables, beds, flooring and paper that are directly linked to native forest destruction.
"Major retailers like Freedom Furniture, Bunnings, Coles and Officeworks are driving the destruction of our precious native forests through the products they sell - said Tim Birch, of Markets for Change - Australian families do not want to buy into this destruction. They want to know that the everyday products they buy are not endangering wildlife or leading to increasing climate pollution. Well known retailers need to become part of the solution and not the problem - that means rapidly moving away from using native forests to environmentally responsible plantation timber for their products".
Overall MFC found that over 30 major Australian retailers were selling native forest products in their store rooms. In addition, alarmingly, almost all of these retailers were found to have no procurement policy that protects native forests.
MFC is calling on these retailers to urgently adopt procurement policies that prohibit the purchase and sale of wood and paper products from native forests or from primary forests overseas, and instead switch to purchasing products that are sourced from environmentally responsible plantations in Australia. Recent research confirms that there is sufficient plantation timber available to serve almost all of Australia's timber and paper needs.
Tim Birch from MFC added "Retailers can play a key role in ensuring that Australia's native forests are protected. By switching to plantation timber products there will be significant benefits for protection of our forests, biodiversity and climate. This will lead to job security for the logging industry and certainty of product supply for the retail sector that currently purchase products made from controversial native forest areas such as Tasmania, Victoria, West Australia and Indonesia."
MFC is empowering consumers to say no to Australian retailers who are selling native forest destruction. MFC is urging consumers to make wise choices when they purchase wood and paper products and not to buy products that come from native forests. MFC recognises that at present this is difficult due to inadequate labelling so it encourages consumers to make their concerns known to the store managers of the stores they shop at and the CEOs of these retailers.
Markets for Change has been established to drive responsible industry and business practices through an informed public that has the power to change markets and public policy. It has national and international campaign and research capacity. It is the only Australian environmental organisation focussing specifically on the role of business and its impact on the environment.