The good news is that Greenpeace is republishing its Look Out! brochure which cautions against the use of uPVC windows. First printed in 1998, Look Out! highlights the pollution created in uPVC’s production and disposal. The original booklet also states that timber windows are preferable, provided the wood is from sustainably managed forestry.

As an added bonus, the new edition will include an update on the potential adverse impact on uPVC of new EU chemical industry rules.

The bad news is that Greenpeace also takes the opportunity of the reprint to have another pop at the Pan European Forest Certification scheme. And I quote: “We will emphasise that FSC certification is currently the only way of ensuring sustainably produced timber and that the PEFC scheme is a smokescreen that allows the destruction of ancient forests”.

Such an attack from Greenpeace is no surprise. Its stance has always been that you play by the FSC rules, or you don’t play at all. But it’s still worth the trade repeating that it doesn’t help the certification debate or the environment one jot. Still only a tiny proportion of forests and timber production are certified. It’s growing, but the rate of increase will only pick up if there are various certification schemes developing around the world suited to different countries, communities, forestry and timber industries.

The FSC may turn out to be the pre-eminent scheme but the PEFC has a vital role to play too, as have schemes like the SFI in the US, and Canadian Standards Association certification system.

As anyone without an axe to grind will tell you, these are not window dressing to conceal a rapacious industry intent on laying waste to old-growth forest. They aim to safeguard the forest both for the benefit of the industry and the environment where we all live. The sooner hardline NGOs realise this and work constructively towards certification scheme mutual recognition the better.