Responsible Sourcing

Saving the planet with sustainable timber

Timber is an incredible material. However, the considerable environmental benefits of building with timber may be lost if your organisations fails to procure responsibly.


Timber Trade Federation members are leaders in responsible sourcing, subject to our world leading Responsible Purchasing Policy and to mandatory third party audits.


Make sure to buy #trustedtimber from Timber Trade Federation members, who you can be assured have completed their due diligence.

What is responsible sourcing?

Responsible sourcing is about managing the risk in your supply chain. It is a concept which applies across all industries, but is particularly important for any which has complex, international supply chains – including timber.


In the timber industry, you are compelled under the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) to undertake due dilligence to ensure that timber entering the customs union from 3rd party countries are not illegally sourced.


However responsible sourcing is about more than just meeting your legal obligations. As in most industries, when sourcing timber, there is an expectation this decision does not contribute to modern slavery or deforestation.


Thanks to the efforts of industry, working together with both government and NGOs, the vast majority of timber in the UK is legally sourced. The TTF’s most recent report showed over 90% of timber products purchased came from certified sources.


It is important that responsible sourcing is never a ‘tick-box’ activity. Rather it requires constant vigilance, and through the TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy, there is a push for continuous improvement.


There are a number of different tools used by members of the Timber Trade Federation to identify and remove risk from the supply chain, whether through certification, 3rd party auditing, or using the latest scientific methods.


The use of certification is one of two mechanisms that a company can use to manage their responsible sourcing, the other is supply chain due diligence. Many companies will use the two in combination to ensure higher standard of responsible sourcing and transparency.


The two predominate timber and wood products certification are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).


What’s the difference between FSC and PEFC?


Both PEFC and FSC are committed to achieving the same objectives – the certification of forests to credible, independently verified standards of responsible forest management.


The primary difference between FSC and PEFC lies in their origins.


The FSC scheme was established in the early 1990s – principally with the support of environmental organisations as well as UK companies and developed for tropical environments where large forest concessions are the rule.


However, the FSC scheme could not accommodate ‘group certification’, and this led to the introduction of PEFC in the late 1990s to facilitate the spread of timber certification in in Europe and North America where large numbers of individuals own small areas of forest.


The existence of two competing international certification schemes has resulted in continuous improvement and both PEFC and FSC have significantly modified their schemes over the past ten years.


Just as PEFC is now competent to deal with tropical forestry and plantation regimes, FSC has developed a group certification process to accommodate small-scale landowners.


Nowadays, the two certification schemes operate a chain of custody process that traces material through the supply chain from the forest to the end-user. This makes the schemes a useful tool for removing risk from the supply chain.


Both schemes are fully compliant with national procurement policies, such as CPET in the UK, and assist in meeting programmes with global objectives such as the EU Timber Regulation.

Assessment tools

A number of different assessment tools have been developed to assist companies with their responsible sourcing, due diligence as well as providing information to consumers.


The World Resource Institute (WRI) Global Forest Watch Tool: Giving real-time global deforestation satellite imagery and information on forests. There are “how to” videos about how to use the tool and it is useful to access data and look at the status of areas of interest for businesses. In addition, you can review competing land-use allocations for areas you are sourcing from.


Chantham House manage the Illegal Logging Portal: Provide information on illegal logging, recent developments, risk areas and risk species


Transparency International’s CPI: The Corruption Perceptions Index provide a score for each country in the world based on the perception of corruption within a country. It provides a good level of legal compliance along with other information on country profiles.


The World Bank Governance Indicators: The World Bank compile and summarise information from 32 existing data sources that report the views and experience of citizens, entrepreneurs and experts in the public, private and NGO sector, on the quality of various aspects of governance.


NEPCon’s Country Risk Information: Providing information on countries forestry sector, economy, timber risk score and timber legality. It also provides detail into the corruption perception index, bans & restrictions, armed conflicts, CITES species and certification.