Chain-of-Custody Certification: Queensland Government Offers to Reimburse Costs
The cost of getting a timber certification has always been an Achilles heel for the Australian market. The recent emergence of a ‘verified legal’ accreditation alternative has been attracting international attention due to the cheaper and simpler process compared to full certification of sustainability and comparatively more acceptable as countries worldwide continue to close their borders to illegal wood.
The Australian Government has moved towards introducing a bill through Parliament that will mirror the due diligence-based ‘verified legal’ process from the European Timber Regulations that were recently implemented. While the bill is expected to be passed in late 2013, it is expected that it should have an immediate impact upon the local timber industry,
However, in a market where the Chain-of-Custody certification grows increasingly common, the sentiment amongst many merchants in Australia remain that of their inability to afford the cost to ‘legitimise’ their businesses, To circumvent the problem, many merchants redirect their activities to the local market that doesn’t require them to produce any certifications for sustainability.
As an incentive to support uptake of the certification, the Queensland Government and Timber Queensland have jointly agreed on a support scheme that will assist businesses by obtaining the Chain-of-Custody certification for the processing and selling of certified timber grown in Queensland. The scheme will reimburse costs directly incurred in obtaining the Chain-of-Custody certification under the Australian Forestry Standard AS4707 or the Forest Stewardship Council 40-004 (V2-1) EN. Eligible businesses can claim 100% of the eligible costs to a cap of $5000 (ex GST).
Examples of the types of claimable costs include;
- Initial audit
- CoC systems development
- Application fees to a recognised standard (i.e. FSC, PEFC, AFS 4707)
- Registration and logo use charges.
The Queensland scheme is open to primary processors, secondary processors and wholesalers of certified timber products sourced from timber grown and processed in Queensland. Eligible businesses must be Australian companies that operate in Queensland and have an ABN (Australian Business Number). The scheme will be in place until January 2014.