TTF questions WWF timber supply crunch scenario
The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has released a note questioning the scenario of a future depletion of global tropical hardwood timber supplies in the next 30 years, as prospected by WWF in the report '100% Sustainable Timber Markets’ .
The WWF report - published in in July 2016 and downloadable here - warned that primary forest areas are being depleted at an alarming rate worldwide posing a direct threat to the viability of sawmills and other primary processors in the UK and other importing countries. The publication also addressed ways in which UK business could go about improving the future sustainability and security of timber supplies from exporter countries.
In its note, the TTF explains that the greatest share of the UK timber trade consists of softwood produced and imported from well managed and sustainable forest sources mainly from Scandinavia and Baltic countries. On the other hand, only 4.6% of UK timber imports are hardwood of which tropical hardwoods make up just a small percentage.
Nonetheless, the TTF recognises the need for increasing action on responsible timber sourcing as highlighted by TTF Head of Sustainability Mike Worrell: “The TTF has a continued priority to improve standards in responsible and sustainable sourcing policies across its membership. In line with this, we are working on a revised and improved version of our Due Diligence system, the Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP). We have also recently been awarded a grant from the Department for International Development (DfID) to begin work on a project to promote better environmental and trade relations between UK importers and timber suppliers in China, Ghana and Cameroon. This very much falls in line with the suggestions of this WWF report and we look forward to our members leading the process through their engagement.”
The TTF also notes that - with the EUTR now having been in place for the past 3 years and Indonesia scheduled to be the first country to issue FLEGT licenses in November - the issue of timber legality is set to represent a high priority for the UK and the EU.
"As more tropical timber exporting countries adopt FLEGT licensing and the EU maintains links with VPA countries, it is hoped that sustainable as well as legal forestry practises will become the norm. Ultimately, if tropical forests are not managed in a sustainable fashion, the global availability of tropical timber will collapse along with the business of their trade."
"Increased investment in sustainable forestry governance and management for timber production is one of the best ways to ensure the long term survival of tropical forests."