By Tina Perinotto
9 December 2010 – Grocon can add another green tick to its achievements after its flagship Pixel building in Melbourne became he first building in Australia to achieve Forest Stewardship Council project certification.

The win could signal a whole new line in sustainability awards for developers to hang their hats on.

According to FSC Australia chief executive officer Michael Spencer the movement is very new in Australia but well advanced in the UK.

The standard means that all wood products used in the building have been verified as coming from responsible sources, such as from FSC certified forests, “post consumer recycled” or a combination of FSC certified and other non-controversial sources, Mr Spencer said.

“There is now growing interest from builders and developers in FSC project certification as a way of providing their customers with peace of mind about wood products. This adds value to buildings and creates addi- tional market opportunities for the wood products industry,” Mr Spencer said.

  • See our investigative report on some of the issues in the timber industry and pressure from government and unions  to water down Green Star timber credits.

FSC auditor Nick Capobianco of Green Marketing Concepts, the Australian representative of Scientific Certification Systems, which is the accredited auditing body for the FSC, said there could be more certifications on the way in Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Capobianco said there could be more certifications on the way in Melbourne and Sydney.

“I think there is quite a bit of interest. People need to understand it’s achieveable and then look at their projects to see how they fit and start putting them forward,” Mr Capobianco said.

However, there was a catch 22 operating in Australia with suppliers saying they would not stock FSC timber until there was more demand and industry people saying they did not know where to source it.

Typical costs of certification for a project were between $4000 and $5000, he said.

Background
According to information supplied by the Forest Stewardship Council the council is a “not for profit standard setting and labelling organisation.

“It creates a market-based driver for responsible forest management (environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable).

“It is based on stakeholder balanced decision-making and credible verification. A member of the ISEAL Alliance, FSC shares an approach to standard setting, labelling and verification with organisations such as Fairtrade and the organics federation.

Awards
In recognition of Grocon’s achievement with Pixel, the FSC Annual Dinner and Awards night named Grocon as Developer of the Year.

Other category winners were:

  • Large Chain of Custody Supplier – Carter Holt Harvey (National)
  • Small Chain of Custody Supplier – The Woodage (NSW)
  • Large Forest Manager – Albany Plantation Forest Company (WA)
  • Small Forest Manager – Lagoon of Islands, Downie family (TAS)
  • Printer/Publisher – Vega Colour Group (VIC)