Reflex paper stripped of FSC certification

The Wilderness Society of Victoria reports on its website that Reflex Paper has been stripped of its Forest Stewardship Council rating because of its use of native forests in Victoria's Central Highlands. This is a boost to the campaign to protect these forests and force Reflex and their corpoate customers like Officework to stop loggin our forests. It is also a boost to local campaigns such as the fight to save Sylivia Creek and Cement Creek currently being fought in Victoria.

Wilderness Society Statement 22nd August
In a further blow to their battered corporate credibility, Australian Paper have lost the ability to print the much-prized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification logo on its flagship brand, Reflex Paper.

The Reflex FSC certification has long been held up by Australian Paper as proof of their green credentials but the veneer of respectability has now been well and truly worn out.

Rather than make a truly green paper product, Australian Paper has been content to hide behind the FSC certification whilst continuing to use timber from high conservation value native forests in endangered species habitat to make its paper products.

“It is time for the makers of Reflex paper to move into the 21st century and make a real green product using plantation timber and recycled fibres only”, said Luke Chamberlain, our Victorian forest campaigner.

Despite there being more than enough plantation timber to meet all their needs, Australian Paper have continued to use timber from native forests in Victoria’s Central Highlands to make photocopy paper like Reflex.

The native forests of the Central Highland’s are not only under threat after many decades of fragmentation from logging but were also heavily impacted by the terrible bushfires of 2009.

The forests are also the last refuge of endangered species such as the Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s endemic faunal emblem.

The loss of the FSC logo on Reflex Paper comes as our Ethical Paper campaign notched up yet another milestone. Over 10,000 people have now signed the pledge to not buy Reflex until Australian Paper stop using timber from our unique native forests.

MyEnvironmentInc Newsletter on Reflex Campaign August 23rd

Green tick removed: International Timber Certification dropped from Reflex

After 5 years of the FSC standard being inappropriately branded on Nippon owned Reflex copy paper - the finding is in: Nippon/Australian Paper no longer have the right to label their product with the FSC Controlled Wood Standard if they use VicForests wood.

The case was first lodged with Australian Paper by Chris Taylor and Sarah Rees back in October of 2006. The issue: the Baw Baw frog. The state government were logging remnant area’s of the frogs habitat in a scientific experiment to see if it could survive. The endangered Baw Baw frog is Victoria’s only endemic frog and is restricted to a small band of alpine forest on Mount Baw Baw. Australian Paper were the recipients of this wood.

The case was hard fought by The Central Highlands Alliance (MyEnvironment Inc. in a previous name), Lawyers for Forests, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation. The Liberal federal government, along with the scientific community, undertook a risk assessment of the experiment and found it to be too high a risk to the waning populations of the frog so the logging was banned but the area was still highly contentious. The site of the frog was only a small part of a much greater site of globally significant forest. It contained a range of Nationally-listed, threatened species. Australian Paper still continued to buy wood from this site, now badly damaged from logging.

The case against the FSC Controlled Wood Standard award to Australian Paper grew and as concerns mounted for species and native forests, whether by scientists or community groups, as Australian Paper continued to consume VicForests cheap woodchips. Today the results of those choices are in and VicForests' native wood cannot be deemed ‘low risk’ to high conservation values in forests, so does not meet the requirements of FSC for the Controlled Wood Standard. The Controlled Wood Standard is an environmentally weaker standard in comparison to pure FSC sourced wood, and even still, VicForests failed to make the grade.

The result validates the concerns that have been expressed through the ethical paper campaign - until Nippon owned Australian Paper makes the transition to plantation wood, their wood stream cannot be deemed ethical.

A mighty and special thanks to everyone who committed so much time on this matter.

Sarah Rees and Luke Chamberlain covered daily media on the topic see links: