Certify your foresty or risk losing business
Forest certification has been around for nearly 20 years but only now is becoming crucial for even the smallest growers to be able to gain access to any of the main sawmills in Ireland
At a recent public meeting, a representative of one of the 'big eight' sawmills exp-ressed the view that at least 60pc of all private forest owners will need to be certified within three years.
This is because under the terms of their certificates, the mills can typically take in up to 30pc uncertified timber, provided it is legal.
Currently just Coillte, the Irish Forestry Unit Trust, and one private group have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. With the volume of timber from the private sector steadily increasing we are now at the stage where, on occasion, some mills are having to turn away timber from private sources, or put it to the back of the queue.
Forest certification for the private sector has been talked about for some time, but most owners know little of what is involved, some are wary of the concept, and many are understandably concerned at the likely extra costs involved. In this article I will attempt to explain the background to it all.
One of the targets set at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 was an internationally binding convention on sustainable forest management.
While certain criteria defining sustainable forest management were agreed, the summit failed to enshrine these in international law.
This failure led to the formation of the FSC in 1993 and the beginnings of forest certification. The result, therefore, is that rather than sustainable forest management being a legal requirement in all UN member states, it is effectively administered by non-government organisations on a voluntary basis.