A quest to develop Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for Australian timber products has begun, and those responsible believe it will make purchasing sustainable timber in Australia a more transparent and rewarding process.

The Timber Development Association (TDA) and sustainability consultants PE International will lead the seemingly arduous task of obtaining EPDs for sawn hardwood and softwood, particleboard, MDF, plywood and veneered boards.

Each declaration will show average environmental performance across Australia, rather than the performance of a specific process, an approach designed to benefit small and large producers alike.

Both the TDA and PE agree that if achieved, EPDs will be useful for developers and designers looking to achieve Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) accredited ratings.

“These EPDs are an exciting step forward for the our industry as they will help demonstrate to users the strong environmental credentials of timber and allow it to be compared like-for-like with other construction products." commented Stephen Mitchell, TDA’s Sustainability Programme Manager.

“EPDs will also benefit timber consumers as it will be easier to get credit for using timber in projects seeking a rating under systems such as Green Star.”

“The construction industry around the world relies on transparent, verified data to influence sustainable purchasing decisions”, explains Barbara Nebel, Managing Director of PE International for Australasia.

“We are excited to support the Australian timber industry with the development of EPDs to disclose technical environmental information rather than greenwash.”

The EPDs will be useful for developers and designers applying for credits in the Product Transparency and Sustainability section in the soon to be released Green Star Design & As Built rating tool of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The EPDs will also be useful for claiming credits in the Materials Life Cycle Impacts section as well as via Innovation Challenges in current tools.

Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) have supported the initiative by supplying information from their previous sponsored study: Life Cycle Inventory of Australian Forestry and Wood Products.

“This project demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the Australian timber industry to sustainability”, commented Ric Sinclair, Managing Director of FWPA.

“I am delighted to see that our past work will now be a source of commercial benefit for our members.”