The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) will crack down hard on members who undermine its environmental Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP), said president Martin Gale at the organisation’s annual dinner last week.

He told the audience of 320 at London’s Park Lane Hotel that the drive by government and business towards sustainable development and carbon mitigation was a “gift horse” for the sector, given timber’s renewability and capacity as a carbon store.

“This gives us a massive advantage above all other materials and we have to make the most of it,” he said.

Signatories to the TTF’s RPP commit to undertake due diligence risk assessment to ensure their timber is from well-managed sources. This, said Mr Gale, makes it a “must” for proving they are part of an industry which responsibly “husbands” its resources.

The good news, he added, was that “all bar a few members” had now committed to the policy. But he warned that it now had to be rigidly observed.

“We mess around with the RPP at our peril and any company that does so will undermine what we are all doing,” he said. “If this happens under my presidency, the member will be removed.”

Mr Gale also appealed to members to get behind another tool for underlining the sector’s environmental peformance, its “reborn” Wood for Good marketing campaign.

“We still have very few companies supporting the initiative and I’d like that to change,” he said. “I’d like us all to reflect on our business and the opportunities Wood for Good presents and consider whether a small contribution would make a difference.”

Mr Gale added that he would also use his presidency to encourage more cohesion across the wider timber sector so that it wielded greater influence with decision makers.

“I’d like to see all the industry’s representative bodies coming together on key issues and putting a common shoulder against the cause,” he said. “We need to be smarter in what we do and I’ll be writing to these organisations suggesting we all get together behind something like a Wood Council.”

• At the TTF dinner, members observed a minute’s silence in memory of former president Clifford Champion, who died on January 15.