Timber. Is it all sustainably sourced?

One of the key factors that the construction industry has embraced has been the sustainable sourcing of timber. The prevalence of ‘Chain of Custody’ marks like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification schemes (PEFC) allows people to trace back timbers through the supply chain to sustainable forest enterprises.

Many people are aware of such schemes and certainly the larger players all stipulate FSC / PEFC timbers on their construction projects. Larger supply companies like Travis Perkins, Jewson etc also promote the marks and many state that all of their wood comes from these sources. Go all good news, but is it?

When we talked to Travis Perkins the front of house notice was that 100% of wood was sustainably sourced, however we asked for a print out of stock and on this we found that whilst the majority was FSC or PEFC marked there were several product ranges that were not. These are primarily ply woods where exotic hard woods make up a proportion of the timber. So don’t be fooled into believing that 100% of stocks is from sustainable sources. Ask the office staff who deal with procurement / stocks about the certification of each of the products that you are interested in. You may find that the 12mm Ply is FSC but the 15mm is not.

Buying non-sustainable forestry marked woods is often linked to illegal or clearance type logging and this is rapidly destroying forests across the world, especially in tropical regions.

If you are desperate for tropical hardwoods rather than European ones then you can look for specialist suppliers of FSC timbers.