Harvey Norman have found themselves under the green spotlight cast by Markets for Change, claiming the retailing giant is responsible for selling sustainable native timbers straight from old growth forests, threatening koala and other wildlife habitats.
NEW INVESTIGATION FINDS HARVEY NORMAN SELLING WOOD FROM FORESTS FOR KOALAS AS ‘SUSTAINABLE’
3 July, 2012
Unsuspecting customers of retail giant Harvey Norman are buying flooring made from native forests in NSW that koalas are clinging to for survival. An investigation has found that despite the koala being threatened with extinction, Harvey Norman is promoting its flooring range as sustainable and ‘Naturally Australian’.
Environment research and campaign group Markets For Change today released damning evidence that Harvey Norman buys its timber flooring from forests recognised as critical habitat for koalas in NSW and then sells it as part of its “Naturally Australian” flooring range.
Markets For Change has used the findings of the investigation to call on Harvey Norman and other retailers to urgently reform their procurement policies and meet customer demand for genuinely sustainable products.
The report ‘Naturally Australian Habitat Destruction’ documents how the investigation tracked trees logged by Forests NSW from critical koala habitat at Boambee State Forest near Coffs Harbour via identification tags on their journey to manufacturing mills operated by Boral, which then supply Harvey Norman stores nationwide.
Markets For Change said today that as a first step, Harvey Norman must stop purchasing products that come from the habitat of a vulnerable species like the koala. A second and critical step is for customers to feel confident that they are not being misled about the true story behind the products they buy, Campaigns Manager Louise Morris said.
“There is nothing natural about the threat of extinction for the koala from industrial logging,” Ms Morris said.
“Harvey Norman has an opportunity to show leadership to other businesses and trade in conflict free wood products, and reinforce the trust its customers place in it by refusing to aid and abet the extinction of koalas.
Ms Morris said the report provides not only damning evidence to support toughening up federal government measures to save the koala from extinction, but provides an overdue wake up call for all retailers.
“Customers are increasingly demanding to know where their products come from and will vote with their wallets if a product is being sold at the expense of the natural environment.
“It makes environmental and economic sense for Harvey Norman to shift to become a truly sustainable and responsible retailer by implementing publicly available procurement policies that ensure customers are no longer misled about the true story behind the products they buy.”
“The role that trade plays both nationally and internationally in driving endangered species to extinction is a cause for serious concern. A recent report featured in ‘Nature, International Journal of Science’ released by University of Sydney, shows quite clearly the role that international trade plays in threatening endangered species through the destruction and trade of their habitat.”
“The revelations come on top of decades of destruction of internationally significant high conservation value native forests in Tasmania, with the centuries-old wood sold to Japan and China often to make cheap, disposable products. Previous investigations by Markets for Change have showed that Harvey Norman is selling products from the ongoing destruction of these native forests.”
THE retail giant Harvey Norman has been accused of selling flooring made from native forests in NSW where koalas face extinction following an investigation by environmental activists who tracked timber harvested in prime koala habitat.
The environment group Markets For Change said its investigation found Harvey Norman buys timber flooring from forests recognised as critical habitat for koalas in NSW and sells it as part of its “Naturally Australian” flooring range.
Markets for Change tracked timber harvested by Forests NSW from Boambee State Forest, considered prime koala habitat, to a sawmill in Koolkhan owned by Boral Limited, Australia’s largest building and construction materials company.
The sawn timber from Boral’s sawmill in Koolkhan was then transported to a flooring manufacturing mill where Boral produces Harvey Norman’s Naturally Australian flooring range, the group said.
”Harvey Norman claims its Naturally Australian flooring products are sourced from ‘sustainable and renewable natural resources’ when instead they are contributing to the destruction of Australia’s native forests and destroying vital koala habitat,” the group’s report, to be released today, says.
”Markets for Change calls on Harvey Norman to phase out selling products made from native forests … [and] to give their customers clear and accurate information about the source of their wood products.”
The report says figures from the Australian Koala Foundation reveal there may be as few as 43,000 koalas remaining in the wild and warns logging forests is a leading threat to koalas.
”This report establishes clear links between this endangered koala habitat, the forest companies that are logging and processing it, and Australia’s largest furniture and electronics retailer, Harvey Norman,” the report says.
The group’s campaign manager, Louise Morris, said Harvey Norman had a unique opportunity to show leadership.
“Customers are increasingly demanding to know where their products come from and will vote with their wallets if a product is being sold at the expense of the natural environment,” Ms Morris said.
“It makes environmental and economic sense for Harvey Norman to shift to become a truly sustainable and responsible retailer by implementing publicly available procurement policies that ensure customers are no longer misled about the true story behind the products they buy.
Harvey Norman was contacted for a comment but did not wish to respond.
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Markets for Change is a new, market-focused environmental non government organisation founded in 2010. MFC investigates and exposes the companies and products driving environmental destruction, creating the impetus for retailers to adopt environmentally and socially responsible procurement policies to help create an environmentally responsible market.