AN AMERICAN audit company has told Forestry Tasmania that its green credentials aren’t up to scratch and it needs major corrections to achieve an environmental seal of approval.
The million-dollar audit, commissioned by the state-owned logging company, has found ‘‘major nonconformities’’ between its operations and Forest Stewardship Council standards, a rating considered vital in modern markets.
The Examiner understands that Forestry Tasmania will next week be handed a lengthy draft FSC certification report by Californian-based company SCS Global Services.
SCS lead auditor Robert Hrubes assessed the company in December, joined by three Australian forest management and forest science experts.
Dr Hrubes said Forestry Tasmania was informed of the audit findings in January, and requested it take action to fix problems identified.
The findings make up a central component of the draft report.
The struggling logging company – which reported a $43 million loss last financial year – must provide evidence to SCS that it has corrected the failings.
Dr Hrubes said Forestry Tasmania could fix the problems in its own time but wouldn’t receive the tick until all were resolved.
‘‘The fact that issuance has been delayed has nothing to do with outcome of the audit, nor is the delay in any way indicative of serious problems,’’ Dr Hrubes said.
A spokeswoman for Forestry Tasmania said it was common for auditors to identify areas where an organisation was already meeting the standard and where further work was required.
‘‘Given the size and complexity of Forestry Tasmania’s operations, and the more than 200 separate performance indicators that are used, it would be very surprising if the final audit report was to conclude that there was no need for any further work,’’ the spokeswoman said.
‘‘While there may be some attempts by others to portray any nonconformities as an indication that Forestry Tasmania will not receive FSC certification, this is a misunderstanding of the FSC certification process.’’
The spokeswoman said the company had committed to releasing a summary of the final report, expected in April, but would not be providing public comment on what ‘‘may or may not be in the report until we have it’’.
During budget estimates last year, Forestry Tasmania chairman Bob Annells said the company was giving FSC ‘‘a red-hot go’’ and that it was a ‘‘notoriously difficult’’ process.
Mr Annells said at the time that if the company did not pass the audit, it would keep trying.