The World of Wood (WOW) Festival was a six-week celebration of timber from October to December to coincide with COP26, hosting a series of discussions around timber’s role within climate, construction, carbon storage and the global governance necessary to keep global forests growing.

The WOW Festival was led by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) along with the European Woodworking Industries Confederation (CEI-Bois) and an alliance of over 40 associations, representing forest and timber sector global growth and development, engineered mass timber and wood-based products from Indonesia to Ghana, Australia to North America, and Europe to China.

The Festival told the story of how global forests and the wood products cycle are helping avert climate change and decarbonise construction, while, through effective governance, supporting social, environmental and economic growth in developing countries.

One key message prevailed and remained more crucial than ever: that wood equals hope.

To stimulate conversation and put timber on the climate debate, events highlighted the full timber supply chain from different regions of the world and their underpinning governance and sustainable management practices.

With a range of presenters, the WOW Festival showcased live content from COP26 and the launch of a technical paper from Timber Development UK (TDUK) on ‘Counting Carbon’. It also included seminars on how to decarbonise our cities and the launch of a new student competition, ‘Southside Hereford’.

The WOW events, digital platform and the World of Wood augmented reality app all highlighted that global forests and wood products are crucial to averting catastrophic climate change.

Included within the event programme was the release of the Building with Wood Manifesto ‘Growing our Low- Carbon Future – Time for Timber’. This calls on policy makers worldwide to recognise forests and the global wood and forest industries as key parts of the solution for achieving a more climate-resilient economy.

A second call to action came from private sector associations across the tropical belt facilitated by the TTF in the form of the Tropical Timber Accord, with its strapline ‘Global Forests need Global Governance’. This recognises that action against climate change requires global collaboration and strong legal governance across forestry and timber sectors, underlining that the timber industry itself has a vital interest in tackling threats facing tropical forests.

Central to WOW was an exhibition for the 2021 Wood Awards. This showcase of timber design and craftsmanship provided great examples of how to put the principles of both manifestos into action.

Increasing use of wood in the built environment, including in furniture and interiors is a natural, cost effective and sustainable solution for carbon capture.

In turn it increases investment in sustainable forest management, providing local communities with a viable income, encouraging conservation and preventing illegal logging and deforestation.

To continue the climate conversation and key policy ambitions crucial for keeping timber on the climate agenda, the TTF (now merged with TRADA to form TDUK), will continue to drive forward action towards a low-carbon future using timber.