I wonder if the light might be going on about sustainability.

Making sure what we do now doesn’t compromise our children on the environmental, economic and social fronts is a no-brainer, but it is sometimes hard to see what that really means for our industry outside of planting trees when we chop them down.

Over the past couple of weeks the TTF team has been presenting to all our meetings on the work we as an organisation and we as an industry have to do to properly engage with this concept of sustainability. Our commercial futures depend on it.

We have already set out in our five-year plan our strategic intention to focus more heavily on the customer side of the supply chain. We will improve knowledge and expertise flows up and down the supply chain. We will also address the policy initiatives that can either inhibit or improve the opportunities to grow the use of wood.

Now we have analysed what is driving our customers’ business – and it is all about sustainability: life cycle assessment, Environmental Product Declarations, Sustainable Construction Strategy, water strategies, Code for Sustainable Homes, European Directives and standard setting, are just a few of the things you may have heard are driving our customers. There are many more you won’t.

Mapping these things together and seeing where the industry currently sits in relation to each is showing us that if the wood and wood products sector wants to able to exploit these drivers as genuine commercial opportunities, then we all have to get with the programme.

In the autumn the TTF will deliver its Sustainability Action Plan which will identify just what that means in practice.

I encourage the entire industry, TTF member or not, to support it.

Encouragingly, other timber industry bodies are reaching similar conclusions and we are also working together to achieve some consensus around the industry’s narrative and the industry’s policy needs. That can only make us more effective.

TTJ Industry Updates are a forum for trade bodies to address key issues.