Traceability of Timber – Supporting Sustainability

Whilst the UK settles in to a world after BREXIT, the UK timber industry is looking at ways to ensure that they are sustainably resourcing their supplies. Since as much as 87% of timber imports come from outside of the UK, the supply chains are becoming more and more complex with each economic change.

Why Is This An Issue?

Globally, the wood products market is worth $684.26 billion and this is expect to grow at a rate of 8.4% annually. In the UK alone, this equates to £8.5 billion through imports (seeing an increase of 14% on last year) and leaves us as the second biggest importer globally (behind China)

According to the WWF, this increase in global demand for timber products could have a huge and devastating effect on deforestation. With a pressure to find low-cost solutions, businesses could be inadvertently supporting ‘illegal and unsustainable logging in forests worldwide’.

Standards and Regulations

Ensuring that wood is grown sustainably, there are a number of standards and regulations that can help identify a reliable and maintainable source. These include:

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): Internationally recognised, not-for-profit organisation which promotes responsible management of forests.
  • The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC): International not-for-profit, non-government organisation.
  • Grown In Britain Logo: Certification of home grown timber products within the UK.
  • Scandinavian Nordic Swan Logo: Official sustainability label for the Nordic countries.

Also, though the UK has left the EU, sustainable sourcing is still top of their agenda. In January 2021, the UK Timber Regulations (UKTR) came in to place as well as the UK FLEGT Regulations. The requirements in which we were following pre BREXIT remain largely the same however they also now apply to any EU imports in to the country.

Positive News For The Industry

Whilst the UK are tackling fairly new UK regulations, huge import rates and complex supply chains, we are able to see we are going in the right direction.

The UK construction industry currently recycles or reuses 81% of the UK construction timber which, in comparison to 99% of metals and 59% of concrete, this is an area to be proud of.

Provided that the industry consistently focusses on responsible practices, the timber industry will remain a renewable resource for years to come.

For further articles, please visit our News and Insights page or get in touch with Isabel Thompson to discuss opportunities.

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