Sustainability

Absorb Carbon

Wood is the only truly sustainable, renewable and beautiful building material. By choosing to build with sustainable timber, businesses are helping to preserve and grow the worlds forests, and combat climate change.

 

Trees absorbs carbon dioxide while they grow, turning carbon into wood and emitting oxygen. This carbon is stored in wood until it is released either by natural causes or through combustion.

 

For every tree harvested, many more are then planted in it’s place. Research has shown these kinds of managed forests have the ability to absorb much more carbon dioxide in the long term compared to unmanaged forests.

 

Together with the preservation of ancient forests, these managed forests are also able to support the biodiversity of the planet, with planting guidelines setting aside as much as 15% for ‘natural’ forest.

 

Around the world this has lead to some incredible success stories. One of the most significant is the preservation of the gorillas in the Congo by the actions of Interholco, who provide a livelihood, and place a value on the forest, to prevent deforestation.

 

The worlds forests are an incredible natural resource. However, we need to work together to preserve them. Globally, the most common source of deforestation is from conversion to agricultural use.

 

This is why the Timber Trade Federation and our members collaborate with government, NGOs, and businesses around the world to promote better forest governance and grow the use of sustainable timber.

 

Trade Carbon

The UK is one of the largest importers of timber in the world, with more than half of the timber consumed, which in 2018 was more than 17 million cubic metres, coming from Europe – particularly the Nordic states such as Sweden and Finland.

 

These high quality softwoods from Europe are often used in construction, and come almost exclusively from certified forests. This ensures that for every tree harvested, several more are planted in their place.

 

Our members are also big supporters of UK forestry. While the level of supply to demand means we are net importers, efforts over the last few decades have seen the UK develop it’s own supply of sustainable forestry, which in 2018 contributed 6.4 million cubic metres.

 

The UK also imports smaller quantities of tropical hardwoods. Our members, governed by our Responsible Purchasing Policy system, are obligated to complete due diligence to ensure no illegal timber enters our market.

 

This is why purchasing from our members, means buying timber you can trust. 

 

As the Timber Trade Federation we support European Union Trade Regulations, and partner with the UK Department of International Development on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade.

 

Our expertise in responsible sourcing is called on by Governments,  NGOs, and businesses around the world.

 

By supporting sustainable trade and development, we are helping create a circular, bioeconomy, which will help better peoples lives, and prevent global warming by working in harmony with one of the worlds greater resources.

 

Store Carbon

For every cubic metre of wood used in construction, one tonne of carbon dioxide is absorbed and stored. This means even after transportation, timber will often have a negative carbon footprint.

 

While around a third of new build housing in the UK is built using timber frame, this hides significant variation across the country. While 83% of homes are built using timber frame in Scotland, this falls to just 22.8% in England.

 

This represents a significant lost opportunity to combat climate change. According to the UK Green Building Council, construction accounts for around 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

 

Globally it has been acknowledged by organisations ranging from the United Nations to the Royal Society of Engineering that building more with sustainable timber, in place of energy intensive materials such as concrete or steel, is important for combating climate change.

 

A key recommendation of the Commission on Climate Change in 2018 was to increase the use of wood in construction. They estimate that if 270,000 homes in the UK were built using timber per year this would store 3,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

 

There are many example of successful policies encouraging the use of timber in construction across the UK, including the London Borough of Hackney and Powy’s Council, which both employ a ‘timber first’ policy for new construction.

 

The UK has been a world leader in building ‘tall in timber’ and integrating more timber in construction. However, this will only continue to be the case if the Government supports timber and climate friendly policies.