Highly productive year for Scion

1 October 2014

Crown Research Institute Scion has reported a successful year in its Annual Report for the 12 months ending 30 June 2014.

The year’s highlights range across all Scion’s research areas that take in forest growing, forest health, solid wood, wood fibre and biomaterials research, environmental performance, forestry-based ecosystem services, clean technologies and bioenergy.

Scion Chair Tony Nowell says the institute has focused on aligning closely with industry priorities and government agencies to ensure continued progress in fulfilling Scion’s Statement of Core Purpose.

“Our vision is direct and clear – ‘Prosperity from trees’ – and we have made a huge contribution to that end this past year.”

A major achievement was the partnership developed with the new Forest Growers Levy Trust to lead a six-year research programme to support forest growing and forest health. The new ‘Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future’ research programme is backed by $20 million of Crown investment from 2013 to 2019.

“This ambitious programme is now the largest for both Scion and the Levy Trust. It targets both existing and future forests and will result in new developments and advance world-leading technologies to sustainably double forest productivity over the next 20 years,” said Mr Nowell.

Another highlight, at a different scale and of direct benefit to the food and other consumer products sector, was Scion’s commissioning of a commercial scale cool room that tests packaging under typical storage and transport conditions. This reflects growing customer demand for renewable, higher performing packaging materials such as those made from wood fibre.

The environmental performance of the forest industry is also a focus area of Scion. The Ministry for Primary Industries’ extension of a fumigation-free period for export logs based on Scion research findings was a significant achievement for log exporters who must either recapture and destroy or eliminate use of methyl bromide by 2020. Scion’s forest protection expertise also contributed strongly to finding solutions to kauri dieback disease and technology to eradicate the Eucalyptus leaf beetle.

Chief Executive Warren Parker says along with Scion’s research and technology successes, the institute’s financial performance was most rewarding.

“Our financial position reflects our strong commitment to meet customer and industry needs. Revenue grew by 5.8% per cent to $48.1 million exceeding budget. Profit at $2.9 million was also ahead of target, assisted by the sale of trees, and will principally be reinvested in science infrastructure and science equipment to support New Zealand’s forestry, wood product, and bioproducts sectors,” said Dr Parker.

Scion’s financial results including tree sales show a pre-investment return on equity of 11.1% per cent, above the shareholders’ expected 8.0 per cent. Capital investment into new equipment and facilities was $4.11 million and in line with the institute’s 10 year plan to modernise the Rotorua Campus and enable world-leading science.

“This has been an excellent performance year for Scion,” said Dr Parker. “Staff worked extremely hard to recover from the loss of MBIE investment at the start of the year and to achieve the year’s performance targets. Our role in helping the forest industry and biomaterial sector to fulfil their economic, environmental and social potential for New Zealand is as important as ever.”

Scion’s complete Annual Report can be downloaded from the company’s website at