Forestry battle in the Solomons – Why you should buy Australian timber furniture.

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

New forestry battle in the Solomons – Business – March 2013 – Islands Business magazine.

 

 

I have just finished reading an online article about logging in the Solomon Islands which is quite disturbing. It only takes a couple of minutes to read and gives a good account of what is going on with their local industry. I’ve included a few lines below and the link above. The basics of it are that the government is corrupt  and Asian companies are taking advantage of their resources. We are very fortunate that out forestry industry is regulated. If it weren’t for this we’d probably have the same issues.

“The company was found to have breached the Forestry Act by felling logs from an area outside its licensed concession. The boat was taken to Solomon Islands’ Western Province’s commercial centre of Noro where it was impounded at a cost of US$10,000 a day. Somehow the company which was warned repeatedly with a threat to cancel its licence last year for similar breaches was allowed to export the shipment. It was reported that a senior official was paid SB$600,000 (approximately A$77, 000) in cash to intervene.”

“The forestry sector is now the playground for crooked loggers, helped in some instances by ex-militants and resource owners. And it is frightening,” one insider said.  A senior Ministry official said the government was working behind the scene with loggers to create chaos in the industry.

“You will find as we have seen in the cases so far that the outcome would always be the same—the loggers will always win because they are prepared to pay someone big bucks,” he said.

You might think that this has little impact on our country. Wrong. Deforestation in these areas is affecting climate change and rainfall patterns here in Australia, something we cannot afford to happen.

What can you do about it?  It is certain that some of this illegal timber makes its way here to Australia.  Think globally and act locally.

When buying furniture ask the salesperson what the species of timber is, where is has come from and if they can prove that is has come from a sustainable source. They probably can’t or won’t know. Make them find out.

The simplest thing you can do is to demand Australian timbers. That way you can be sure they are coming from a sustainably managed system. Be warned though. Furniture made from Australian timber does not necessitate that it is made in Australia. I have seen a number of examples of Australian timbers being exported to Asian countries, turned into furniture and then imported back into Australia. The environmental impact of this shipping must be incredible.

Practices like these might make the consumer think that there is not hope. This couldn’t be more wrong. There are still many Australian manufacturers, like us here at Studio Hip furniture, who take pride in producing a quality local product. To ensure this is what you are getting just ask the questions, “Where do the timbers come from?” “Where is it manufactured?” and “Can you prove this to me?” If you cannot get a satisfactory answer, go to someone who can give that to you.

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