The green building revolution is increasingly shaping construction worldwide and the timber industry must do more to capitalise.

This was the message from speakers at The American Hardwood Export Council European Convention in Athens last week.

Ed Pepke of the UNECE’s Timber Committee told the 150-strong audience of US suppliers and their European customers that the momentum towards sustainable, green construction had continued, despite the “worst economic downturn since world war two”. But if the timber sector did not educate the market about its inherent environmental benefits, the trend could “impede wood markets” and allow rival materials to capitalise by making their sustainability arguments more strongly.

AHEC executive director Mike Snow said it was particularly important for the temperate timber industry to get decision makers and customers to differentiate between sources of supply in terms of high and low environmental risk.

“We must make illegal loggers’ lives more difficult, but not overburden low environmental risk areas, like the US, with bureaucracy and demand for certification schemes that do not suit the industry’s structure,” he said.

The convention also looked at AHEC’s latest European marketing, education and technical initiatives, hardwood fashions and grading issues.

A full report follows in a later issue of TTJ.