Forest Enterprises has achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C168647) responsible forest management and chain-of-custody certification for 19 forests the company manages on behalf of its retail investors. These are the first registered managed investment schemes in New Zealand to be FSC certified.

FSC is an international NGO that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. The distinctive FSC logo can be recognised on products like paper, packaging and furniture.

Such certification provides assurance to consumers and wood processors that the timber they are buying is sourced from sustainably managed forests.

“Achieving FSC certification is validation that our forest management practices meet the highest international standards”, says Forest Enterprises CEO Bert Hughes. “We know how important this is to our investors.”

The investment forests which have FSC certification are Blairlogie, Blairlogie North, Cleland, Ngahape, Rata Hills, Ratahuia, Te Hau and Te Puhi (Wairarapa); and Glenwood, Goodwood, Hokoroa, Hokoroa North, Homewood, Longwood, Majestic Pine, Millwood, Ormond, Te Karaka and Te Karaka North (Gisborne).

A further 26 investment forests are scheduled to be evaluated for certification later this year.

Hughes explains that FSC certification is particularly important for harvesting forests.

“To maximise harvest returns for our investors, as manager we need to ensure that the forest produces a diverse range of log grades to suit a range of export and domestic customers. FSC certification helps us maintain access to domestic sawmill customers that increasingly prefer logs from certified forests.”

FSC forest management standards enhance New Zealand’s national environmental standards for plantation forestry particularly around rare threatened and endangered species and riparian margins.

Most of the 19 certified forests have designated reserve areas of ecological value, a combined area of over 480 hectares.

“Our goal has always been to ensure that our operations protect the whole forest, not just the production crop”, says Hughes. “We have an appropriate plan in place to manage reserves and each HCV area.”

Forest areas with High Conservation Value (HCV) status have specific ecological or cultural value. They may contain globally, regionally or nationally significant biodiversity; rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems; are fundamental to the basic needs of local communities; or have traditional cultural or archaeological significance.

Emerald Hills Forest in Gisborne has an HCV area of regional significance on the Millwood and Glenwood forest boundaries, a podocarp forest remnant of 300+ year old mature matai, titoki and tawa. The photo below shows it can be easily seen from the air.

“I think [FSC certification] is fantastic”, says Millwood Forest investor, Ben Evans. “It’s a good acknowledgement of the already evident very professional outfit that Forest Enterprises is. It obviously makes good commercial sense, as well as being the right thing to do environmentally. It makes me much prouder to be a forest owner and even happier to be associated with Forest Enterprises.”

Hughes highlights that certification was a team effort. “An FSC audit is rigorous and involves the whole business”, he says. “Four audits in two years is a huge undertaking, especially during a lockdown. Our team has worked very hard on this strategically important project.”

Forest Enterprises celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and remains one of New Zealand’s leading forestry investment managers.

In addition to its investment forests, Forest Enterprises also manages 17,000 hectares of FSC certified forestry in the North Island for a private international impact investment fund (FSC® C131650).

More about FSC

FSC is the most rigorous international standard for responsible forestry. FSC certified forests conserve biological diversity, water resources and crucial ecosystems. The FSC standard also upholds worker rights and supports economic prosperity in surrounding communities. The FSC Chain of Custody certification ensures that certified wood products are tracked from forest to final product (and if applicable, that qualified recycled materials are used), adding legitimacy to the FSC claim throughout the supply chain.

FSC is not responsible for and does not endorse any financial claims on returns on investments.

HCV Area in Emerald Hills Forest Gisborne