Reflex Paper and Victorian native forest logging stripped of green credentials

24 August 2011

Reflex Paper has lost its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification because Victoria’s native forest logging practices do not meet the Council’s strict environmental standards.

“This is a huge blow for the credibility of Victoria’s timber industry, and state-owned logging company VicForests,” said Wilderness Society campaigner Luke Chamberlain.

Morwell-based manufacturer Australian Paper uses woodchips from Victorian native forests to make Reflex paper, but will no longer be able to use the prized ‘FSC certified’ label for its flagship brand, leading to the likely loss of many large customers.

“Australian paper has long held up Reflex’s FSC certification as proof of the paper’s green credentials but the veneer of respectability has now been well and truly been removed” said Mr Chamberlain.

“Logging Victoria’s native forests to produce Reflex Paper is destroying endangered species habitat, and it’s time the industry shifted into our abundant plantation resource.”

“The current controversy over logging of Leadbeater’s Possum habitat at Sylvia Creek forest near Melbourne is a clear example of why timber from Victorian native forests doesn’t deserve a green tick,” said Healesville-based My Environment Inc. spokesperson Sarah Rees.

Australian Paper’s international FSC certification expired on the 26th July this year, and was extended for one month while an audit was completed to check on the environmental credentials of native forest woodchips supplied by state owned timber-company VicForests.

At the eleventh hour, Australian Paper withdrew its request to have timber supplied by VicForests certified by the FSC, recognising it was unlikely to make the grade environmentally.

“Native forest woodchips from Victoria are poison when it comes to gaining Forest Stewardship Certification, because Victoria’s native forest logging practices are an international disgrace and completely unsustainable,” said Ms Rees.

“This vindicates the hundreds of local conservationists across the state who have been fighting to protect their local native forests from being woodchipped to make Reflex Paper,” she added.

“It is time for the makers of Reflex paper to move into the 21st century and meet the market’s expectations by using plantation timber and recycled fibres only,” said Chamberlain.

“Rather than changing their practices to make a truly green product, Australian Paper has said it will rely on the discredited Australian Forestry Standard to try to convince buyers it is not damaging the environment, but that ruse will also fail,” he concluded.

For background see:

Forest Stewardship Council, Australia

TWS Ethical Paper campaign