The golden age of timber dawns

22 March 2014

The industry’s concerted and collaborative efforts to raise timber’s profile are paying off, says TTF chief executive John White

The refrain I have used many times since joining the TTF nine years ago is that we are on the cusp of a golden age for wood. We still are. The wood industry supply chain has had a number of hurdles to overcome before it can grasp the opportunities that are set before it.

We all know that wood is the greenest material known to man. From sustainable sources it fights climate change by absorbing and storing carbon. The industry provides jobs and, of course, wood is beautiful. Our customers and consumers like wood, especially now we have taken away a lot of the environmental risk through due diligence.

We are also beginning to get to grips with some of the other issues the timber industry needs to address. We have asked our customers what still troubles them about wood and what they need to make it easier to use vis-à-vis other materials.

On April 7, Wood for Good will unveil what we believe is the largest free database of life cycle analysis (LCA) data for wood and wood products.

This evidence, which proves that the environmental impacts of our products are lower than any other material, all in one place and readily digestible, will transform the way in which our customers engage with our products. No longer relying on out-of-date and disparate data that doesn't match common standards or codes, they will have, just as they do for other materials, modern, relevant and usable information that will make the case for greater wood use.

Furthermore the way the project has been designed means that by the end of the year there will be a platform for any user or manufacturer of a wood product to input their own data to produce bespoke Environmental Product Declarations for their own products.

Gradually, the industry is putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together. Husbanding our green credentials, proving the case, pooling our talents through enhanced collaboration and articulating the policy case that truly means my observation of our being on the cusp of a golden age of timber will be redundant - we will well and truly be in one.

John White