Western Australia has joined Tasmania to become the second state government to adopt a state-wide Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP). A WEP requires responsibly sourced wood be considered, where feasible, as the primary construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects.
It does not in any way mandate the use of timber, but rather seeks to ensure that wood is at least considered as the primary structural component in buildings.
In addition, there are two local government authorities and 16 local councils – five in Western Australia – which have adopted WEPs in Australia.
Speaking about the announcement, Simon Dorries Responsible Wood CEO, spoke of the power of wood encouragement policies in promoting sustainably sourced timber on construction projects.
“WEPs provide an important incentive for the use of wood in building projects, and when it comes to responsibly sourced wood forest certification plays an all-important role in demonstrating that timber is sourced from forests that meet acceptable environmental standards for practice.
“We commend the Western Australian government in showing leadership in this field, and note the adoption of similar policies around the world including Canada, Japan, France, Finland, The Netherlands and the UK.
“Responsible Wood, PEFC in Australia, is Australia’s largest forest certification scheme, with more than 90 per cent of Australia’s commercial forests currently involved in the scheme however, just 12 per cent of global forests are certified under PEFC and / or FSC forest certification.”
Embodied within the Responsible Wood certification scheme, forest growers, processors, merchants and retailors are assessed by independent certification bodies and must meet the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (AS 4708 – 2013) and Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS 4707 – 2014) to achieve and maintain Responsible Wood certification.
In total, there are four Responsible Wood certified forests in Western Australia including the Bunbury Treefarm Project, Forest Products Commission (WA), WA Plantation Resources Pty Ltd (WAPRS) and WA Sandalwood Plantations Pty Ltd.