As part of its ongoing review of the Green Star environmental rating tools for buildings, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has released its new Assessment Framework for Forest Management Certification Schemes.
GBCA’s Green Star Executive Director, Robin Mellon, said that the new assessment framework will provide a level playing field for certification schemes, simplify compliance requirements in the Green Star ‘Timber’ credit and promote the use of Australian timber over illegal imported timber.
Mr Mellon said that when reviewing the Green Star Mat-8 ‘Timber’ credit in 2007, the intentions were to identify the value of certified timber products and to promote the key role that the Australian timber industry plays in the green building supply chain.
Developed in consultation with an autonomous Timber Expert Reference Panel, the new Green Star Assessment Framework addresses stakeholder concerns about the exclusive recognition of only one timber certification scheme.
Mr Mellon said that the revisions to the Green Star Assessment Framework will encourage the specification of reused and post-consumer recycled timber, in addition to virgin timber certified by forest management certification schemes that meet the new requirements.
Forest certification schemes seeking acknowledgment for the Green Star Timber credit will be assessed according to the number of the framework’s best practice criteria it partially or fully meets.
Documentation will be examined by an independent third party and recommendations will be made to the GBCA, in the same way that the GBCA recruits independent assessors to review Green Star projects. Each applicant scheme will be provided with a full report, which will be made public on the GBCA website.
Mr Mellon concluded that the after an extensive period of stakeholder consultation, the Green Star Assessment Framework now welcomes ongoing feedback to ensure that it continues to evolve and reflect best practice in forest certification.