Government ministers welcomed yesterday’s launch of the UK forest and timber industry’s strategy to improve and promote its environmental performance.

The UK Forest Industries Sector Sustainability Strategy, which also goes by the pithier title Naturally Wood, was unveiled at an event hosted by the All Parliamentary Group on Forestry in Portcullis House in Westminster.

The strategy has been developed by a range of industry groups and stakeholders in both the British-grown and imported forest products sectors, including NGOs. The initiative has been co-ordinated by the Forest Industries Development Council and the Timber Trade Federation has also been closely involved.

The aim, said the FIDC‘s executive director Peter Wilson, is for all the participants to “develop further the credentials of wood as a sustainable raw material”.

“Most encouraging is the way that the UK and importing sectors have been able to work together, with support from the environmenal NGOs. We can now take a very positive message to governments in each UK country and show how our sector can contribute positively to goverment [sustainability] objectives.”

The launch of Naturally Wood was also addressed by environment minister Elliot Morley and in a letter to the groups behind it, secretary of state Margaret Beckett described the strategy as “an important part of the process for ensuring that UK businesses continue to develop along a sustainable path”.

Delegates at the launch were told that an implementation group has been formed to help put the new strategy into effect. It was also said that it will be used as an “exemplar” for similar initiatives in other industry sectors.