Harvey Norman accused over forests

Retail giant Harvey Norman is selling Chinese-made furniture harvested from Australian native forests, according to environmental activists.

Tim Birch, chief executive of the non-government organisation Markets for Change, undertook a year-long undercover investigation into the retailer, which is accused of profiteering from the destruction of Australia's native forests.

"Our native forests are vitally important to Australians, to endangered species and to water and climate protection and they're being logged, shipped overseas, turned into furniture and returned to be sold in Harvey Norman stores," Mr Birch said.

According to its website, Markets for Change is an environmental organisation that aims to investigate and expose companies and products "driving eco destruction".

MFC tracked timber from native forests in Australia to its shipment to China for processing into furniture and its final sale in Australia through Harvey Norman stores across the country.

"As one of the largest retailers in the country, Harvey Norman has a unique opportunity and responsibility to ensure Australia's native forests are protected," Mr Birch said.

"They currently have no publicly available procurement policy that ensures they are not selling furniture products coming from native forest destruction."

He said the report will give power back to consumers who will be able to decide if they want to buy the products from Harvey Norman.

He said Harvey Norman could create significant benefits for jobs, forests, biodiversity and climate by switching to responsibly managed certified plantation timber products.

In a report earlier this year, titled Retailing the Forests, MFC said Harvey Norman was among 30 of Australia's largest retail chains which stock products originating from Australian native forests.

The political activist group GetUp has partnered MFC in a TV commercial parodying the recognisable Harvey Norman style of advertising to inform the public about the retailer's disregard for Australian forests.

Harvey Norman was contacted for a response but declined to make an immediate comment.


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