I sometimes wonder if the grass root timber and timber products trader actually realises what a fantastic product they deal in. We know that key words like “green” and phrases like “environmentally friendly” are two of the most important and powerful in today’s market, so why aren’t we shouting them from our fantastically good tree tops?

There have been many articles in the TTJ highlighting the good work done on our behalf by the timber certification bodies, the TTF, and TRADA. It is not always easy, but we must also work with the environmental NGOs to remove the negative publicity associated with our trade.

From a business point of view, the long-term benefits of pursuing environmental certification and portraying timber as a green product are so great that I am amazed at anyone, and we all know someone, who would disagree. The fact that we trade in one of only a few, potentially, fully renewable resources is such a positive; I feel we need hitting round the back of the head to wake us up to realise it.

We must sell our products on the environmentally friendly issues as well as quality and service; not just price. The green element of our sales pitch should be a huge margin-enhancing gift, as well as a valuable weapon for taking on rival materials, like plastic, but I’m afraid to say we just casually throw it away.

In some European countries, manufacturers of non-biodegradable plastic products have to build into their sales price an end of use disposal cost. We all know why, but our customers don’t. The plastic industry would fight this tooth and nail if the government tried to introduce it. Perhaps we should push it?

We have recently become FSC-certified and, therefore, are continuing the chain of custody. The reaction from our customer base has been excellent, and I would recommend everyone pursues the certification avenue.