To see so many people from across the timber and wood products industry at the event on September 30 was great.

I’d like to personally thank all the sponsors for their great support for the TTJ Awards and of course everyone who attended for helping make it such as special day.

It is sometimes said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and seeing the supply chain – sawmillers, importers, distributors, merchants and manufacturers gathered in one place certainly gave an impression of the size and breadth of the industry we work in.

It’s moment like this where you can see great potential in the industry and wonder what might be possible if we could somehow harness the positive sentiment into more unity and working together with common purpose to promote timber to the wider world.

Well, the Confederation of Timber Industries’ first major event – its Westminster conference – coming up later this month will hopefully be a key moment in the industry moving up a gear in its promotional and lobbying work, as well as in building genuine unity between all component parts.

Elsewhere in TTJ this month, there is growing movement from Guyana to fight back against the Environment Agency’s ban on its use of the country’s greenheart (page 6). The EA’s decision last year has resulted in a significant fall in Guyanese greenheart use in the UK.

The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) and the country’s authorities have called the ban “unfair” and are fighting the EA’s reasons for its block on greenheart.

It is ironic EA made such as move when Guyana is on the threshold of getting some of its forests FSC-certified and is also on the Forest Law Enforcement Governance & Trade track to supply licensed timber exports to Europe.

The UK government’s department for international development has also done considerable work in the country in assisting on forest management.

The EA has an admirable target of 100% legal and sustainable timber sourcing. But its decision does conflict with the UK government’s own timber procurement policy which says certain tropical hardwoods can be used for specific projects.

You would hope that in its pursuit of its target it does not lose sight of the good work done in Guyanese greenheart forests (even though they currently lack certification) or the effect on the UK timber trade, as greenheart has been the staple of sea defences for years.

I suspect that when the first Guyanese greenheart concession gets FSC-certified (expected in 2017), some certified supplies will be used by the EA again. While Guyana continues its lobbying work with the EA, certified ekki and other alternative durable species will continue to enjoy a greater slice of business with the agency in its marine work.