AUSTRALIAN FOREST INDUSTRIES DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHARTER

The members of the Australian Forest Products Association were aware of the need to increase participation of females in the work force across forestry industries. In March 2019, the first Women in Forest Industries Workshop was held in Canberra with one of the top three priorities identified from the event being the creation of an industry charter that is reportable against by the organisations which sign up to it.  

The AFPA Human Resources Subcommittee helped in developing the Charter, based on the Tasmanian Forest Industry Diversity Charter, drafted by the Tasmanian Future Leaders Group – FWPA/ARLF.  The Charter contains eight commitments for each organisation that signs up to the Charter.

All four Chambers of AFPA unanimously agreed to passing of the voluntary Charter on Diversity and Inclusion that will allow organisations to further develop supportive and inclusive workplaces.

The Charter has a requirement for participating organisations to annually report on progress. Reporting on diversity will provide industries with its first baseline data to understand exactly where forestry sits.  It will also allow members to follow how they progress over coming years.

 AUSTRALIAN FOREST INDUSTRIES DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHARTER

The forest products industry is one of Australia’s largest industries with an annual turnover in excess of $24 billion. It contributes around 0.5% to Australia’s gross domestic product and 6.6% of manufacturing output. Around 80,000 people are directly employed along the industry value chain with a further 100,000 jobs supported through flow-on economic activity. This Charter provides a voluntary framework for organisations within the Australian Forest Industries to develop supportive and inclusive workplaces for people from diverse backgrounds.

Through adopting the Charter organisations acknowledge that they are more likely to:
• Increase productivity and efficiency with a diversity of perspectives and opinions;
• Increase profitability and resilience with a diverse workforce; and
• Attract a greater pool of talent if they appeal to a diverse population.

The organisation commits to:
• Creating a positive image of our industry to better develop a diverse and skilled workforce reflective of our communities.
• Actively seeking to attract, employ and retain people from diverse backgrounds.
• Building and maintaining a genuine culture of inclusiveness for diversity in the workplace.
• Maintaining a workplace that promotes dignity and respect for all.
• Ensuring equal pay for equal work.
• Understanding and responding to the challenges hindering diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
• Promoting flexible working arrangements in the workplace.
• Reporting on diversity at an industry level.

Diversity is the way in which people are unique, both visible and invisible, innate and external. It describes the differences and uniqueness of people, acknowledging the unique blend of knowledge, skills, and perspectives people bring to the workplace. Diversity can include characteristics such as age, gender, gender identity, physical ability or attributes, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, cultural background and ethnicity, language, and education.

Inclusion is a workplace’s culture and the way in which they welcome diversity and create an environment where all different kinds of people can thrive and succeed. Inclusion allows everyone to bring their authentic selves to work, achieve their full potential, and where everyone’s perspectives and efforts are considered and valued by their employer and colleagues. It is about removing barriers to make sure that all people can fully participate in the workplace and have equal access to opportunities. Inclusion is the empowerment of people to contribute their skills and perspectives for the benefit of forest industries performance and goals.