Guiding Rules for Choosing Ethical Timber
Timber sourced from native, natural forests – whether certified or uncertified may damage natural eco systems.
Many certified tropical timbers are sourced from areas high levels of corruption like Indonesia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea – even certified wood may not be legitimately certified.
In a world of increasing corruption even wood certified by the world’s foremost certification scheme Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is not immune.
The reports of misuse of the FSC® logo are abound along with recent evidence of blatant illegality.
There is one way to be more sure of your choices – go with who you trust.
Transparency International report annually on the level of transparency, or inversely the level of corruption in countries. This report shows that amongst timber producing nations, New Zealand along with the Nordic countries are consistently the least corrupt in the world.
However, the same cannot be said for giant tropical timber producers, Indonesia (38/100), Papua New Guinea 28/100), Brazil (35/100), and Sub-Saharan Africa nations with atrocious levels of corruption well below the average.
In a recent ABC article Australian based NGO the Wilderness Society argue that it is better to preference locally grown plantation timbers.
The Wilderness Society suggest consumers should consider the following hierarchy when purchasing timber, in descending order of sustainability:
- Recycled or reclaimed timber, with FSC® certification
- FSC® certified, 100 per cent plantation-grown pine from Australia or New Zealand
- FSC® certified, 100 per cent plantation-grown hardwood
We should avoid timbers labelled "sustainable regrowth", "sustainable regrowth plantation", or "controlled wood" products from native forests - whether they carry a certification label or not.