Timbmet visit Urufor
15,000m2 of nursery, 40,000 hectares of FSC® certified forest, 42,000m2 of operating facility – running solely on renewable energy, a product with multiple applications and uses, sounds too good to be true in today’s hardwood market . However, that is exactly how to describe Urufor’s production of Red Grandis.
Red Grandis, Urufor’s trademarked name of eucalyptus grandis, a species introduced to Uruguay 35 years ago on land that was deemed less suitable for what at the time was countries main economic activity, agriculture. Today, timber for the first time has become Uruguay’s number 1 export.
Timbmet, Urufor’s longest standing UK partner, conducted a thorough audit of their operations in Montevideo and Rivera, Uruguay, in March 2019. The visit exceeded expectations, and left them concluding that they are involved in ‘one of the greenest hardwoods on the planet’ and its potential has yet to be fully explored.
The sustainability of the forest and its long term commitment and ties to being 100% FSC certified have always been a big part of the story, but it goes beyond that. It encompasses 100% renewable energy sources both wind and onsite biomass from waste, water derived from rain filled lakes, organically grown seedlings taken from 50,000 mother plants where cuttings are grown to saplings in 10-12 weeks ready for planting.
The nursery, where saplings are grown from the clippings of 50,000 mother plants was very impressive. All 100% organic matter, water from lakes that capture rainwater, it was Incredible to see trees 25 metres tall 23-25 years later, that would have started life in the nursery as a 2 inch cutting.
Not only is the sustainability message one of the best in the timber sector its uses and applications are just as far reaching. In Montevideo we saw hotel interiors and exteriors beautifully designed and crafted. One of the citys oldest markets – Mercado Agricola Montevideo 8,000 m2 of Red Grandis T&G cladding has been used on the ceiling, even Timbmet’s own offices in the UK have used cladding both internally and externally.
Paul Holstead, Timbmet’s Commercial Director commented; ‘At Timbmet, we believe the potential of this hardwood has yet to be fully discovered. There is a message of sustainability beyond just the forest which is integrated into the whole operation. It’s a timber that will be available long into the future and one that only has the potential to grow. We look forward to the journey with our partners at Urufor’.
In Timbmet’s opinion, the most environmentally friendly hardwood on the planet.