Self-professed sustainable timber sourcing company Radial Timber from Victoria has been referred to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an investigation into false and misleading advertising targeting architects.
Radial Timber’s website includes a page specifically for architects and designers claiming green credentials.
“Radial Timber is growing, drying, milling and selling all it is own product. We are in controlled (sic) of where the timber comes from and how it is processed,” the site says.
But a group of local farmers – including one that staged a dramatic naked protest - has written to the ACCC after loggers moved into the Alberton West State Forest in southern Victoria, disputing the claims.
However local residentMarian Macdonald says that Radial Timber owner Chris McEvoy must have been aware that he was sourcing timber from a coupe that was home to seven threatened or endangered species.
“Chris admitted this weekend that the mill gets absolutely none of its timber from plantations and will be relying on native forests like ours for another decade or two,” says Macdonald.
“VicForests and DELWP surveys show there are the vulnerable Powerful Owl, threatened Southern Greater Glider, vulnerable Clover Glycine, endangered Cobra Greenhood, critically endangered Marsh Sun Orchid and endangered Velvet Apple-berry in the coupe.”
“The coupe is also home to healthy Strzelecki koalas, providing critical genetic diversity after koalas were brought from islands following their near-extinction in Victoria. They are so important, private forestry company HVP would not allow this logging operation in its forests.”
Macdonald says McEvoy has reversed his stance on taking wood from the forest over the space of three weeks.
“At first, Mr McEvoy says he did not want this timber because of its high biodiversity value,” she says.
“Now that the bulldozers are moving in, he says he doesn’t know where his timber comes from, that Radial Timber relies 100 percent on wood from native forests because none of Radial Timber’s wood is being drawn from plantations, and that he dare not turn away a log truck in case VicForests won’t deliver more”
“This is totally opposite to the green platitudes Radial Timber uses to sell its cladding to Australian architects and designers, who buy this product in good faith, and would no doubt be mortified if they could see where the timber comes from.”
The group has written to the ACCC, calling for the regulator to take action against Radial Timber on the grounds of false and misleading advertising.
“We hope architects and designers will call Radial Timber and ask Chris McEvoy to act in line with his own principles and turn that dirty timber away,” Macdonald says.
Image: Vic Forests moved into Alberton West State Forest on Hedley Range Road this morning / Friends of Alberton Wests Forest vai Facebook.