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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Q. Can a company that operates at a loss achieve FSC certification?

A. The FSC certification standard requires that a forest management entity have sufficient financial resources to manage the defined forest area in conformance with the full scope of the standard. The standard does not require that the certified forest is managed at a profit provided that other sources of working capital are available and sufficient to enable management in conformance with the standard.

This bombshell of a response comes from the document Talking Points and Frequently Asked Questions Forestry Tasmania Preliminary FSC Assessment (0.5MB pdf) from the website of SCSGlobal Services, the company acting as FSC assessors for Forestry Tasmania.

I have written before about how current forest policy, management and practice in Tasmania creates significant obstacles to private tree growers and private (especially small scale) forest investment.

In my view one of the significant obstacles is the complete lack of commercial focus and commercial management at Forestry Tasmania. And I’m not talking about a single bad year. I’m talking about systematic long-term commercial mismanagement that has been documented and reviewed over many years by John Lawrence and others.

How are current and potential future private tree growers supposed to compete against one of the State’s largest forest growers that behaves as a community service not a business?

And now based on their preliminary assessment the FSC assessors are saying that this sad situation is perfectly acceptable to the FSC.

This is just extraordinary!

FSC are prepared to gold-plate Forestry Tasmania’s continued anti-competitive and anti-commercial practices, as long as Tasmanian taxpayers are prepared to keep wasting money.

How can this result in good forest management outcomes?

How can this rebuild Tasmania’s competitive, efficient, profit-driven forest industry?

It can’t! Quite the opposite!

Forestry Tasmania should not be given FSC Certification whilst it continues to operate as a loss-making, community service forest manager.

The Forest Stewardship Council should not encourage and support the destruction of commercial value of public and private forests.

If you are concerned about this ridiculous outcome then:

SCS Global Services welcomes comments on the forest management practices of any of the applicants listed below [including Forestry Tasmania], or other topics pertinent to their seeking FSC certification. Comments can be submitted via email to Brendan Grady (, SCS Director of Forest Management Certification, or by completing the online Stakeholder Questionnaire. All comments and sources will be kept in strict confidence at the request of the commenter.

I seek your support in helping to overturn this pending disaster.



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