World Environment Day

World Environment Day 

BLOG · BY TTF CEO David Hopkins · 09 June 2020

On Friday it was World Environment Day. The theme was biodiversity. Forests provide vital habitats for a vast web of biodiversity and help regulate the atmosphere – but they are under threat from climate change. We are highlighting this in the linked video, which I encourage you to share.

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Trees absorb carbon dioxide while they grow, and provide us with the only truly sustainable, renewable building material. For every cubic metre of wood we use in UK construction, one tonne of carbon dioxide is absorbed and stored. By choosing to build with sustainable timber, businesses are helping protect and grow the world’s forests, and help combat climate change.

This is why it is the mission of the Timber Trade Federation to collaborate with governments, NGOs and businesses around the world to help promote better forest governance, better forest management, and to grow the use of sustainable timber, driving income and investment back into the forest. On World Environment Day and every day we should remember a forest that pays is a forest that stays!

While these facts will seem obvious to our members and many of those who work with sustainable timber, these are not universally acknowledged – but they should be. The UK Committee on Climate Change found in their report, UK Housing: Fit for the Future, that building more with timber is one of the most effective strategies to help mitigate climate change.

The positives of building with timber have been repeatedly found by almost any organisation which examines the subject. The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering in their report Greenhouse gas removal highlighted the effectiveness of ‘building with biomass’ as an effective route to helping achieve Net Zero.

NGOS such as the World Wildlife Federation advocate for sustainable forestry and stewardship, with their Living Forests Report finding we can produce more wood without destroying or degrading forests, while protecting biodiversity and our existing ecosystems. However, too often the timber and forestry industries are misunderstood.

In the coming month we will be launching a campaign to challenge some of these misperceptions held by the general public with our industry partners, so I encourage you all to watch this space. Right now though, I would like to highlight the competition we launched at the start of this week, Conversations about Climate Change.

This competition seeks to highlight the roles of tropical timbers. Conversations about Climate Change is a design competition that sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from sustainably sourced tropical timber. Too often tropical forests have often been undervalued and cleared for agricultural development, rather than sustainable forest management.

So the action is to share this competition with all you know and help us grow the sustainable timber in the UK. Meanwhile we will be continuing our work to advocate for the role of our industry in a green recovery.