Endangered … an environmental group says wood used to make Harvey Norman’s ”Natural Australian” flooring range is putting koalas at risk of extinction.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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