The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has “turned the corner” following a very difficult year in 2004, according to the organisation’s annual report.

TTF chief executive John White said there was a great deal of optimism that 2005 and beyond would lead to a bigger and better federation, delivering increased services and representing the industry more effectively.

He said: “With timber’s environmental credentials, the need for hundreds of thousands of new homes, and the government’s sustainability agenda influencing every aspect of public policy, there is only one first choice material for building and making beautiful products – wood.”

The annual report describes how the TTF undertook a major cost reduction exercise in 2004 to reverse heavy losses on the previous two years, enabling it to achieve a trading surplus of nearly £50,000 for the year.

The National Softwood Division saw a turn in the market during 2004, but not as badly as some feared, with the north faring better than the south.

A significant development was the much higher profile of environmental certification.

The federation’s National Hardwood Division is involved in a government-funded project to inform African timber producers of European demand for verified legal and sustainable timber, while a report on sourcing legal timber from Indonesia was issued.

Other developments have included the launch of the industry’s online jobs and career gateway the Doorway, in partnership with TTJ, the start of the Responsible Purchasing Policy and the TTF playing a leading role in the establishment of the government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber.