Here at TTJ we’re not usually in the business of talking up other publications. But just this once we’ll begrudgingly give credit to the Timber Trade Federation‘s Focus newsletter for the series of motivational articles it’s been running.

I’m not actually talking about the colourful new, speak-as-you-find column by MCI Timply Ltd managing director Mike Cater – even though he did provoke a wistful sigh this month with his picture of a perfect world where customers appreciate the true value of wood – and pay accordingly!

The morale-boosting pieces I was really referring to are the ones looking at the scale of the UK timber industry.

Of course, despite the consolidation of the trade in recent years, its bedrock still includes many hundreds of dynamic small to medium-sized enterprises, each ploughing their independent furrow in a highly competitive market.

At the same time, as the TTF articles highlight, it’s worth reminding ourselves and the wider marketplace that if you lump all these companies together as UK timber plc, it adds up to a very substantial business indeed. In fact, the latest Focus article estimates the total annual value of UK timber importing and manufacturing industries at £7bn. That puts the sector ahead of tobacco, with £4.1bn, and just one down in the pecking order below clothing at £12.3bn.

According to TTF president Geoff Rhodes the aim of this impressive number crunching is to trumpet the fact that the timber business is a major contributor to the UK economy and should be respected as such by the decision makers. The goal is also to encourage the sector to appreciate its own significance and punch its weight.

Highlighting the size and dynamism of the sector, he added, could also help attract young people to a career in timber. And, you never know, drawing attention to the value of the industry may also help realise Mr Cater’s dream and make more people appreciate the value of wood itself.