Ahead of the curve

20 July 2017

The WWF has always been an arch campaigner for legal and sustainable timber.

While NGOs’ campaigns and methods may have rankled with the timber trade in the past, more or often than not it is timber companies that now find themselves ahead of the curve thanks to extensive responsible sourcing work in the timber supply chain.

The results of WWF’s second biennial Timber Scorecard review show a pretty good performance for those timber companies on the list, with a number achieving the highest “three trees” rating. And construction sector companies, a big customer sector for the timber trade, also fared well.

The Scorecard focuses on each company’s policy for sourcing sustainable timber, their claims on purchasing sustainably verifiable timber or wood products, and their performance measured against their stated commitment.

The report highlights the fact that top performing companies are members of the Timber Trade Federation, which it describes as one of the most active associations encouraging and supporting the trade on sustainable sourcing, and asking for transparency on due diligence for timber as part of its membership requirements.

But there might be a few executives at furniture retailers banging their heads at their poor showing.

“Lacklustre” is how the report described the furniture retailing sector’s performance, with the likes of Multiyork Furniture, Selfridges and The Sofa Workshop scoring the lowest “no tree” rating.

The review makes the point that some furniture (such as chairs) is currently exempt from EU Timber Regulation requirements; while other items (such as tables) are not.

“It is surprising that such well-known customerfacing companies completely fail to communicate the sustainability or source of their key raw material.”

While it’s difficult to know just how accurate the Scorecard really is, it is heartening to see timber companies performing well.

We just need to see other sectors who buy timber tighten up on their procurement for the greater good.

Elsewhere in this issue, we have extensive coverage on the joinery products and French timber sectors.

The British Woodworking Federation says over a third of its members were expecting growth of more than 5% in the second quarter, helped by the recovering new build market.

In France, the sizeable oak industry grew its oak output by about 10% last year, while softwood exports reached nearly 1 million m3.

And finally before you depart on your summer holidays, a final reminder that TTJ Awards judged entry categories need to be in soon.

Details and entry forms for downloading are available at www.ttjonline.co.uk