Remember when hardline greens raided timber yards, snatched allegedly illegally felled wood and handed it over to bemused desk sergeants at the local police station?

The two sides in those days were at major loggerheads, and it wasn’t much more than a decade ago.

The environmentalist line was “our way or the high way” on timber sourcing, while prevailing opinion among many timber companies, convinced that they were already operating perfectly properly, was that they weren’t going to be dictated to on how and where they procured their wood by “dread-locked eco warriors” (sic).

Today it’s not all sweetness and light between the two, but there has been a meeting of minds and serious improvement in relations. Where some traders didn’t even see why they had to discuss environmental issues, now more and more are wearing eco-certification and their overall green credentials as a badge of honour, not to mention a valuable marketing tool.

A further sign that we’re in a new era was The Timber Trade Federation deciding to make its environmental Responsible Purchasing Policy obligatory for members, a move that has undoubtedly contributed to its recent significant boost in membership.

And take the latest Ecobuild sustainable construction show. It’s a place where only companies that are willing to put their environmental credentials up for the closest scrutiny dare exhibit and this year timber was present on more stands than any other construction material.

It’s because of this change in dynamic between timber trade and greens, and the fact that the undoubted key to it has been improved communication on both sides, that TTJ felt brave enough to ask the WWF to guest edit our May 1 environmental focus. The organisation will be giving its perspective on a range of topics and promises to be robust where it still sees room for improvement in performance from the industry. But the main aim is to build on dialogue with the sector and further cement relations.

In the same vein in this edition we will also look at latest environmental achievement in the industry. So, if you feel your business has something to contribute here, let us know.

As for what became of that ‘snatched’ timber, one theory is that there are some retired police desk sergeants out there putting their feet up on some very smart hardwood coffee tables.