Southwood Export Limited (SWEL) was established in 1981 to process indigenous logs into chip for export to pulp and paper mills in Japan. With increasing constraints upon indigenous hardwood chip production, SWEL converted to processing exclusively plantation grown timber, principally of eucalyptus and radiata pine.
SWEL has been managing plantation forests since 1985, when it began establishing eucalyptus plantations to provide an alternative hardwood resource. In addition to its own estate, SWEL manages the plantation forest estates of Southland Plantation Forest Company of New Zealand Limited (SPFL) and Kodansha Treefarm New Zealand Limited (KTNZ). All forest estates managed by SWEL are located in Southland or South Otago and have a total current net stocked area of approximately 12,300 ha.
The mill was established in 1981 and updated in 2010 and currently processes on a single shift 320,000 GMT of logs annually. All wood chip is stockpiled and exported through the port of Bluff.
In July 2004, SWEL attained FSC® Chain of Custody certification for its mill and port operations (NC-COC-001257). SPFL also has attained FSC® Chain of Custody certification in association with its forest certification.
The Company's forest management plan is to provide for high yielding crops on the most economic basis, whilst ensuring that in doing so there are no serious adverse affects on the environment. In 2017 SWEL also attained Forest Management Certification from PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
The Company recognises that its operations have a significant influence on the wellbeing of local communities. To provide employment opportunities the Company will, as a general policy, advertise the bulk of its work on an open tender basis. As a responsible landowner and forest manager it will liaise with stakeholders to ensure that they are informed on any aspects of the Company's operation that could have a significant effect on them and to generally keep them informed of its intentions in their local area.