Forest One is one of Australia’s largest independent distributors of plywood, timber, laminate and decorative surface materials for sustainable interior design. The team at Flooring Magazine recently sat down with Darryl Ball, Group Decorative and Specification Manager, to discuss all things business. 

 What is the ForestOne story?  

 ForestOne is Australia’s largest independent distributor of plywood, timber, laminate and decorative surface materials for sustainable interior design. We’re an Australian-owned company with a strong focus on providing ethically sourced building products that enable architects and designers to ‘Specify Responsibly’. Since our inception under the Gunnersen brand more than 140 years ago, we’ve been a major player in the building industry, providing excellent service, and supplying materials for building and interior design. ForestOne was rebranded in 2019 with a clear vision to empower architects and designers to specify more responsibly. We’re immensely proud of our history and now even more excited about our future direction, enabling architects and designers to build a sustainable future. Our mission is to source and supply best-in-class materials that empower specifiers to achieve their sustainability goals.  

How has the business changed and evolved over the years?  

 When the business was previously Gunnersens prior to July 2019 we still had a focus on sourcing products that had been through a stringent due diligence process before considering any product prior to purchase. This included product sourcing from reputable suppliers, slave labour practices and all things ESG. Four years on as ForestOne that philosophy is no different, however, what we do in our own business has changed significantly. When we talk about ‘Specified Responsibly’ that doesn’t just mean the brands and products that we are distributing but indeed our own practices as a business. Every single employee understands our need to minimise our impact on the environment and to ‘walk the walk;’ when it comes to sustainable practices. In addition to that, as of the 20th of November 2023, ForestOne is not only an independent distributor of plywood, timber, laminate and decorative surface materials but is now also a manufacturer of raw particleboard, flooring and melamine laminated products.  

What is the ForestOne philosophy and or mission statement? 

Specifying Responsibly is an ethical choice. By making responsible product choices, designers and architects help to progress sustainable building culture and shape an industry that protects our environment and our communities for generations to come. While we often focus on aesthetics, performance, and cost when designing and constructing buildings, beautiful designs do not need to come at a cost to the earth. We have a strong focus on providing products to allow architects and designers to Specify Responsibly. Put simply, we want our customers, both specification and trade, to take comfort in knowing that a ForestOne product selection equates to a truly responsible choice. 

ForestOne supports architects and designers to make responsible choices and Specify Responsibly. What does this mean? 

A sustainable building is the outcome of responsible material specification, which aligns the efficient use of resources with overarching aims to reduce a building’s impact on the environment during its lifecycle. Through responsible material selection, specifiers can minimise environmental impacts by reducing reliance on natural resources, using reclaimed and recyclable materials, avoiding materials with high embodied emissions, or by simply creating less waste. Responsible specification also means the avoidance of materials that may have been produced through unethical practices, or otherwise pose a threat to human health and well-being. 

Specifying Responsibly means architects, designers and project specifiers can reduce the environmental impact of building through careful material selection. They can also make informed decisions that contribute to the health and well-being of all stakeholders in the supply chain. As ForestOne is the largest independent distributor of wood panels, timber and decorative surface products in Australia, we have a strong focus on providing products to allow architects and designers to Specify Responsibly. Alongside its sustainable building products, ForestOne is undertaking a range of initiatives to be more responsible in the way it operates its business. Seen in the execution of environmentally mindful practices, such as using hybrid cars and delivery trucks, LED lighting, solar panels and even 100% recyclable packaging for our products. 

What is the product offering at ForestOne? Describe your current collections and the brands you carry. 

 ForestOne has become one of the trusted suppliers to the market with a one-stop solution. This is the foundation of why our products and brands are so popular. We have numerous products in our portfolio, but there are three main areas that we sell to the market: 

  •  Plywood, which is used in many applications both decorative and structural applications. ForestOne is Australia’s largest importer of Plywoods in Australia, something we are extremely proud of. With one of the largest offers in both local and globally manufactured options, we have been able to give multiple choices for the market. 
  •   Our decorative products are headlined by the world class EGGER brand of products. With technology of the highest calibre combined with incredible best in class environmental credentials there is no wonder it is increasing in popularity. Included in the EGGER range is the commercial quality GreenTec Flooring range. With unrivalled performance it fits beautifully amongst the ForestOne portfolio of quality products. Other products within the decorative range include MEGANITE Acrylic Solid Surface, InForm laminates and our very own Australian made decorative particleboard colours plus a wide range of other decorative surfaces. 
  •  Finally with all great suppliers you only become a one-stop-shop by offering all the other necessary building products. ForestOne boasts a wide range of timber and panel products that complement the other two categories in the range. This includes raw board, exterior and interior paintable panels, carcass materials and other building essentials. 

 Looking ahead, what plans have you got for the future of ForestOne? 

 The future for ForestOne just became a whole lot bigger and more exciting with the acquisition of the D&R Henderson business in November 2023. This now gives ForestOne the opportunity to vertically integrate and supply some products to the market that we now can produce. This includes a range of timber and particleboard products. The exciting part with the acquisition is that, not only can we supply the decorative market with a range of products with incredibly high recycled content (up to 66% on some products), but we now have the ability to recycle products into our own production at the end of its life. This provides an exceptional product end of life solution that our customers have been looking for. It really fits in with our Specify Responsibly mandate and holds us in good stead for the future.