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Revised Timber Credit

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The Green Star 'Timber' credit

The Green Star 'Timber' credit was introduced into all Green Star rating tools on 1st of January 2010 following the Sustainable Timber Credit Review.

All Green Star projects that are registered before 1st of January 2010 have the option to use either the old Green Star 'Sustainable Timber' credit or the new Green Star 'Timber' credit. Any projects registering after 1st of January 2010 must use the new Green Star 'Timber' credit.

Essential Criteria - Background Document

GBCA-recognised forest certification schemes

The Green Building Council of Australia announced in late November 2009, the release of a revised Timber credit effective January 1, 2010.

This follows a detailed review of the GBCA's Timber credit, conducted by an independent Timber Expert Reference Panel.

There is clear evidence that illegally sourced timber is being used in Australian buildings, particularly in imported engineered wood products and furniture. The GBCA introduced revisions to the Timber credit to encourage the use of legal timber in Green Star projects.

The GBCA believes that legal timber is easily demonstrated through certification by forest certification schemes that comply with the GBCA's Essential Criteria for Evaluating Forest Certification Schemes (Essential Criteria).

Essential Criteria

If a Green Star project selects to use the timber credit as part of their Green Star submission, one point is now available where at least 95% (by cost) of all timber is certified by a forest certification scheme that meets the GBCA's 'Essential' criteria for forest certification; or is from a reused source; or is sourced from a combination of both.

Forest Certification Schemes that comply with the Essential Criteria must be accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) International or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

FSC Australia is the FSC representative in Australia. The Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS) is the PEFC accredited scheme in Australia.

FSC International and PEFC comply with the Essential Criteria on the basis that they have:

  • robust governance, standards development, and independent auditing process;
  • provide an assurance of legality; and
  • provide chain of custody certification extending from the forest to the end user which is traceable throughout the supply chain.

The rationale for recognising FSC International and PEFC as deemed to satisfy the Essential Criteria is on the basis that these 5 criteria have been adequately addressed and documented by the CPET (2006) and TPAC (2008) reviews. (refer to note for further detail)

Significant Criteria

The GBCA released the Assessment Framework for Forest Certification Schemes (the 'Framework') in June 2009, and the Revised Timber Credit in January 2010.

The Revised Timber credit is the result of more than two years of engagement with timber stakeholders and the recommendations of an independent Timber Expert Reference Panel. The credit contains Essential and Significant criteria for forest certification schemes that address governance, standards development procedures and content of forest management standards.

In April 2010, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) requested the Primary Industries Standing Committee, through the Forestry and Forest Products Committee, to develop a discussion paper on sustainable forest management principles for Australia.

The GBCA is now awaiting the outcomes of the PIMC's discussion paper before proceeding with the full implementation of the credit. In the meantime, the GBCA continues to work closely with key stakeholders.

In future, two points will be available where at least 95% (by cost) of all timber is certified by a forest certification scheme that meets both the GBCA's 'Essential' and 'Significant' criteria for forest certification; or is from a reused source; or is sourced from a combination of both.

Notes for Green Star projects

  • One point will be awarded in the revised Timber credit where 95% (by cost) of all timber used the building and construction works is certified by a PEFC or FSC International accredited forest certification body; or is from a reused source; or is sourced from a combination of both.
  • Only one point is currently available when claiming this credit. The second point may be claimed as not applicable (N/A) until the 'Significant Criteria' are implemented.
  • Further work is being undertaken on establishing 'Significant' criteria for forest management.

Notes on CPET and TPAC

The Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement (CPET) is a service of the UK Government. CPET was established by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2006. CPET have established a Framework for Assessment of Forest Certification Schemes and have contracted independent assessors to verify the compliance of Forest Certification Schemes operating in the UK market against this Framework.

The Dutch government has established a similar process to CPET called the Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC). The results of the CPET and TPAC assessments of forest certification schemes have informed the UK and Dutch governments' timber procurement guidelines since 2006 and 2008 respectively.

CPET and TPAC have undertaken assessments of the PEFC and FSC International forest accreditation systems. These assessments resulted in both being recognised as compliant with the UK and Dutch governments' requirements.

A review of the requirements of the CPET and TPAC criteria by the GBCA has shown clear correlations between the requirements of the GBCA Essential Criteria and the CPET and TPAC frameworks' criteria for:

  • Chain of Custody
  • Schemes Governance;
  • Standard Development Processes;
  • Independence of Auditing; and
  • Legality of Timber

This provides the rationale for the GBCA to determine that PEFC accredited Schemes and FSC national schemes can demonstrate deem to satisfy compliance to the GBCA 'Essential Criteria'.

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