A group of Timber Trade Federation (TTF) hardwood sector members attended the third Racewood conference in Doula, Cameroon, last week.

The event, organised by the French-based Interafrican Forest Industries Association (IFIA), is designed to improve communication and business links between the Congo Basin and European timber industries.

The TTF delegation comprised Richard Bagnall and Gordon Lamb of Robbins Timber, Andy Duffin of James Latham, and Guy Goodwin of NHG, with DLH and Danzer represented by local management.

Rachel Butler, TTF head of sustainability, also attended and gave a presentation on UK market prospects for hardwood.

“My focus was that, while the industry faces increasing ‘passport’ requests to prove timber legality and sustainability, the climate change agenda and drive to zero carbon construction in the UK are creating opportunities for hardwood,” she said.

Other speakers addressed European environmental ‘due diligence’ policy on timber imports, retailers’ stance on sourcing hardwood and sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin.

The UK group also visited local forest concessions and timber operations at the port of Douala.

An interview by Rachel Butler with IFIA director general Hervé Bourguignon will appear in a later edition.