Global leaders, think tanks, scientists and environmental organisations are recognising the importance of sustainable timber in creating a shift to a net zero industry.

Sustainable logging is key to the future of the timber industry. Image credit:

Sustainable logging is key to the future of the timber industry. Image credit:

The timber industry was recently highlighted by the World Economic Forum in their series ‘The Future of Nature and Business’.

Across three socio-economic systems, representing more than a third of the global economy and up to two-thirds of all jobs, this report calls for a fundamental transformation. These systems are food, land, ocean use, extractives, energy, infrastructure and the built environment. By taking on 15 transitions across these three systems the report forms a ‘blueprint of action for nature-positive transitions which could generate more than USD10.1-trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.

According to David Hopkins, CEO of the Timber Trade Federation, sustainable timber as a material interacts with all three systems. “As responsible, transparent suppliers of ‘Timber you can Trust’, our members represent a future state of business still to be achieved by the majority of firms. We form part of a global, growing supply chain of sustainable products, as the report reflects this. Sustainable forest management for timber, pulp and paper products could create more than USD165-billion in additional annual revenue by 2030. This includes relatively nascent products such as high-value low-volume timber, as well as new end-applications such as timber buildings, which alone could be worth USD45-billion per year by 2030,” says Hopkins.

At the heart of this growth is sustainable forest management, which allows timber to replenishable, to support biodiversity, people’s livelihoods, and absorb and store carbon in our built environment. “While sustainable timber has long been the norm in the UK, some negative myths do persist – which is why our collective work as ‘Timber you can Trust’ and in the new industry campaign ‘Wood CO2ts less’ is essential. Highlighting the importance of timber as a form of carbon capture and storage is helping to transform a construction industry which can otherwise be reluctant,” says Hopkins.

But despite the potential for growth, the report is not all good news. The World Economic Forum singles out the continuing impact of poor, unsustainable logging as a leading cause of biodiversity loss and deforestation. As part of our Responsible Purchasing Policy and Code of Conduct, I remind all that our members that they must continually work on improving their due diligence systems to prevent unlawful timber entering the market. This reminder goes out especially to those members whose roles will be changing post-Brexit.