Merchant News
Healthy environment for sales
24th May 2019

Healthy environment for sales

Healthy environment for sales

Decade of Diligence provides #TimberYouCanTrust

Buying #TimberYouCanTrust must have a firm foundation of demonstrable fact, for the sake of both timber trader and merchant customer. 

In June, the TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP) will celebrate a decade of mandatory and strictly enforced due diligence by all members of the Federation, be they builders’ merchants or timber producers, importers, manufacturers or distributors. 

All Federation members must adhere to the Policy, and to its accompanying Code of Conduct, and are audited every year against its exacting standards on their measures to ensure traceable and legal sourcing in the timber supply chain. The RPP is now acknowledged as a benchmark of good practice by authorities, receiving praise from NGOs.

The RPP is also designed to move with the times, adapting to take account of new issues and developments as they emerge, such as the TTF’s recent work on plywoods.

“We regularly review and update the RPP.  We keep in close contact with independent forest monitors and NGOs to discuss, explore and define best practice for our members,” says Xiao Ma, Sustainability Manager at the TTF.  

For the RPP’s 10th anniversary, and with EUTR already enshrined in UK law, we are issuing simplified step-by-step guides, available to members in the RPP Hub on TTF’s website. We are also organising platforms for members to meet and discuss their due diligence practice directly with independent monitors. 

   “Additionally we are providing free training sessions for members in May and June,”  Xiao Ma relates

  David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director adds: 

“By holding our members to the very highest standards we can help assure the market that, in buying from a TTF member, they are buying Timber you can Trust.”

Merchants go down to the woods with Södra

Making the most of timber’s sustainability credentials for marketing means understanding how the product is grown, the influences of climate on the quality of the timber, and seeing the production process first hand. 

To this end, Södra Wood Ltd took a number of family-owned independent merchants to Sweden in February to visit one of the family forests of its 51,000-member co-operative, and to witness the process from seed to sawmill. 

The group started at Södra’s Falkenburg tree nursery, where around 36 million saplings are planted each year and nurtured with chemical-free pest deterrent.  The Swedish climate of long cold winters is beneficial to the quality of the timber produced.  The company’s Värö sawmill, one of six in the group, and a visit to a Swedish builders’ merchant site and to the Port of Varberg, then followed. 

The merchants participating were the new generation of owners at Wood Green Timber, JK Timber and Leigh Timber.  

“Our visitors were very interested in the speed and efficiency of the entire
process and our dedication to sustain-ability,”
said Nigel Buckley-Ryan, Södra Wood Ltd’s Sales Director, Merchants.

To see the source of the products and the processes behind them, in which all inputs are renewable and the entire log is used, helps to complete the picture.” 

Sustainable hardwoods? Timbmet investigates

Many merchants steer clear of hardwoods, erroneously worrying that they are either a risk to reputation or a stock line too far, unlikely to be worth the rack space. 

Yet all the signals being received by the Timber Trade Federation in our work with other organisations further along the supply chain indicates that local joineries are still using and seeking supplies of legally and sustainably-sourced hardwoods.

In addition, buying from a Timber Trade Federation member ensures that they have been through rigorous due diligence under our Responsible Purchasing Policy.

Many TTF members go further, undertaking their own additional checks on suppliers.  Timbmet is one such example.  The company recently went to Uruguay to visit Urufor, who produce Red Grandis, the trademarked name of Eucalyptus grandis

The Timbmet team visited Urufor’s 15,000m2 tree nursery, from which forests are replenished for the future; also some of Urufor’s 40,000 hectares of FSC®-certified forest, and its 42,000m2 of production facility, which runs on renewable biomass and wind energy.  The team also visited buildings utilising Urufor’s Red Grandis in the capital Montivedeo.

Paul Holstead, Timbmet’s Commercial Director, says: “We believe the potential of this hardwood has yet to be fully discovered.  Their sustainability message goes beyond the forest and is integrated into the whole operation. Red Grandis is a timber that will be available long into the future and one that only has the potential to grow.  We look forward to growing the market with our partners at Urufor.” 

From its beginnings as an introduced species 35 years ago, the timber has now become Uruguay’s primary export.

Healthy wood for health buildings

We’ve highlighted in the past the importance of making sure that the test data on timber cladding products accurately reflects the cladding’s potential installation and use in a building.

The producers of composite cladding are now picking up on signals from the market that more detailed information is needed by all parties. The most recent example of this need being fulfilled is Dura composite cladding from International Timber. Its new Dura Cladding Resist FR range has been tested in similar conditions to those found at installation on a building, namely with a void behind instead of the normal fire-rated  barrier used for testing. It achieved a Euroclass rating of B-s2-d0 under BS EN 13501.

The ‘do’ element of the rating means no flaming droplets are produced which could spread fire further. The low smoke rating (s2) and B classification (on a scale from A1 best to F at worst) and the co-extruded outer layer protecting the core, further add to its credentials.

End of life recycling

International’s Dura Cladding Resist also scores environmentally in terms of its recycled plastic content.  Customers can return the product for recycling and re-use in future projects at the end of its service life, further diverting plastic waste from landfill.  

Tapping into the emerging ‘healthy buildings’ agenda could provide new ways to market timber and wood products, says Christiane Lellig, Campaign Director at Wood for Good

Timber merchants are just beginning to pick up on the wave of interest in healthy buildings and what this could mean in terms of extending the market for timber.  There are a range of products already out there which fit with some of the movement’s central principles, which include low VOC emissions, and minimal impacts on the environment and upon building occupants.  It is an apt time for suppliers and merchants to get involved as interest can only intensify.”

Where is a good place for merchants to start?

Wood fibre insulation boards are an added value product, offering merchants greater margins and the possibility of opening up new markets,” says Craig Colligan, National Sales Manager for Housing at Steico UK

“They perform every bit as well as their synthetic alternatives. Some studies have also shown them to be cheaper to install per square metre than standard insulation products, offering builders a time and labour saving.”

David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, summarises the opportunity:  “Timber is already the merchant’s most profitable category.  It therefore makes sense to increase your knowledge of wood’s role in wellbeing, so your business can continue bringing in a healthy profit on wood.”