Sustainability is the ability to maintain or support a process over time without resource exhaustion.

This means that when we use resources that the planet provides us naturally, we need to make sure that we use it in a way that is good for the environment and the people that live on the planet. We need to ensure there is enough of the resource for future generations.

Wood and all kinds of other materials come from trees. While trees grow, they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. They filter water in the ground, clean our air and they don’t produce any harmful chemicals or pollutants while they grow.

If we take the time to make sure we are purchasing products that come from forests that are managed for future generations, then we are purchasing sustainable wood products. Always consider where all your products come from and choose responsibly.

According to the UN FAO – Sustainable forest management is the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their:
  • biodiversity
  • productivity
  • regeneration capacity
  • vitality
  • potential to fulfil relevant ecological, economic and social functions at local, national, and global levels, now and in the future

And does not cause damage to other ecosystems.

Wood sourced from responsibly managed forests and plantations reduces the amount of atmospheric carbon by storing that carbon, which helps to address climate change. As trees grow, they take carbon out of the atmosphere, which remains stored by the wood after it is harvested.

In responsibly managed forests and plantations, the harvested trees are replaced with new seedlings, contributing to the circularity of the entire operation.

As trees grow, they take carbon out of the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. In fact, approximately half the dry weight of wood is carbon.

The carbon remains stored in all wood products for the life of the product.

Forest management for wood production is a commercial activity. It is in the interests of forest growers and their customers to replant harvested trees to ensure a thriving business.

In Australia, more than 70 million seedlings are planted each year by Australia’s plantation owners, while native forest managers renew their forests through natural or artificial reseeding. Each year, more seedlings are planted than have been harvested.

Certified sustainable means that a third-party company has assessed the quality of the forest management and production against a set of agreed upon standards that ensure wood comes from legally harvested and well-managed forests and plantations. Certification considers environmental, social and economic factors.

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are the internationally recognised forest certification net

According to the most recent State of the Forests Report, about 8.9 million hectares of native forests and plantations were certified for forest management under either the PEFC or the FSC scheme. Some forests and plantations were certified under both schemes.

Much of the wood used in Australia comes from forests and plantations that have been independently certified by PEFC and FSC.

The Australian Government has enacted strong laws to ensure all wood in Australia has been legally sourced.

Look for the PEFC, Responsible Wood and FSC certified labels.

When you see these labels, you can determine what certification processes this product has gone through.

Just looking for the labels means you are looking at a product that has considered biodiversity, deforestation, fair wages and employment and the entire chain of custody.

To find out more information about what each label means, head to the Responsible Wood and FSC websites.