Chosen for Quality: FLEGT Plywood

Chosen for quality: FLEGT Plywood

ARTICLE · By Timber Trade Federation · 28 Nov 2019

Indonesia isn’t the first country that comes to mind when sourcing hardwood plywood but since the country started issuing FLEGT licenses on its wood products, TTF members have been taking greater interest.

“We chose to offer Indonesian plywood because it’s a superior product,” says Dean Rolls, Reading Depot Director at Arnold Laver.

“Following the TTF’s guidance on selling third-party accredited marine plywood, we switched from our previous Malaysian PEFC™ certified material that was manufactured in accordance with BS1088.  Initially we found ourselves less competitive than the wider market, as non-TTF members were still selling a cheaper product. Yet we’ve turned that around by marketing the Indonesian product as a ‘Superior Grade Plywood’ on the basis of its quality and performance.”

Dean Rolls adds: “There is a big difference between Chinese plywood and the Indonesian product:  there are very few core gaps, the Indonesian product is heavier, the face veneers are high quality, a dark red colour, and it’s a very well-constructed panel. It is CE marked and tested to meet EN636 Use Class 3, making it suitable for use in exterior conditions.

“We find that when eight out of ten customers ask for ‘marine ply’, they have simply used this description in the belief that the product will be a higher quality of plywood.  Many do not actually require an accredited BS1088 stamped panel.  We have thus briefed our sales team that the Indonesian product will meet most customers’ needs in these instances,”  he affirms.

In terms of customer acceptance of FLEGT licensed timber, Arnold Laver’s Dean Rolls believe there is a long way yet to go:  “FLEGT is not yet so well accepted or understood by the main contractors we work with, most of whom still insist on FSC® certified material as their first choice.”

To help combat this lack of understanding, the Timber Trade Federation is working with Britain’s Department For International Development on a project to communicate the benefits of FLEGT licensed timber across the UK and Europe.