Greenpeace Good Wood Guide launched

Making it easy to give forest friendly gifts this Christmas

Press release - December 17, 2008
Greenpeace today launched its online Good Wood Guide together with an updated ranking of outdoor furniture retailers. The guides are aimed at helping New Zealanders ensure they are not destroying rainforests or our climate when they buy their outdoor furniture or timber decking this summer.

The Good Wood Guide lists over 100 'good wood' products from 22 companies as well as information on 90 different types of timber. The updated Guide to Forest Friendly Outdoor Furniture Retailers ranks 19 leading outdoor furniture retailers in New Zealand on their policies and practice on eliminating the sale of timber products that are from illegal and destructive sources.

"Christmas gifts, long summer days and boxing day sales are prime times when people are purchasing wood products and outdoor furniture. The guides help people to make the right purchasing choice and show that they can be part of the solution in stopping the destruction of the world's last remaining tropical rainforests," said Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forests Campaigner.

Indonesia is New Zealand's biggest source of tropical timber imports (1). Indonesia's forests are being logged faster than any other forested nation and globally deforestation contributes approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is through this deforestation that Indonesia and Brazil are 3rd and 4th respectively as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

"It's not hard to buy 'good wood' as there are plenty of different products available. Before you shop check out and our updated outdoor furniture guide. By buying the right timber you can feel safe in the knowledge you're helping to save tropical forests, indigenous communities, the earth's climate and unique animals like orangutans.

"The updated outdoor furniture guide showed improvements in ranking by several major retailers including PlaceMakers, Smiths City, Bunnings, Farmers and Big Save and showed commitment to the phasing out of the most controversial timber kwila. It's great to see the business sector responding, but Government laws must be developed to 'level the playing field' and stop companies importing illegal or destructively logged timber," concluded Rosoman.

The worst wood on the market which is used extensively for both outdoor furniture and decking is the tropical timber kwila, and most of the kwila on the market is from illegal sources in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. (2) Greenpeace estimates that approximately NZ$20 million of kwila sawn timber, decking and outdoor furniture is imported into New Zealand every year. The NZ Government policy on illegal timber imports claims that kwila makes up about 80% of the illegal trade in wood products in New Zealand. Last year Greenpeace released a report on the status of kwila called 'Merbau's last Stand', which predicts kwila will be extinct in the wild within 35 years if current logging trends continue. (3)

Research commissioned by the Ministry of Forestry last year (4) estimated that the New Zealand domestic forest industry would gain an additional US$178 million a year in revenue by 2020 if illegal logging was eliminated and log prices would be 17% higher (5).

Good Wood Guide link

Guide to Forest Friendly Outdoor Furniture Retailers link

Other contacts: Grant Rosoman, Greenpeace Forests Campaigner, 03 382 5476 or 021 428 415 Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace communications manager 021 614 899

Notes: (1) New Zealand imported NZ$85 million worth of forestry products in the year to June 2008 (Ministry of Forestry statistics). (2) The World Bank found that between 70 – 80 per cent of timber products leaving Indonesia and PNG are logged illegally. World Bank, August 2006. Strengthening Law Enforcement and Governance. Report No. 36638-GLB (3) ‘Merbau’s Last Stand: How Industrial Logging is Driving the Destruction of the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific.’ (including maps) Published by Greenpeace International, April 2007. (4)Turner J, Katz A, Buongiorno J: Implications for the NZ Wood Products Sector of Trade Distortions due to Illegal Logging. July 2007. (5) The recent joint forest industry and conservation group statement on ‘Eliminating illegal forest products in New Zealand’ can be found out: