CTI Blog - Global sustainability issues require global and innovative solutions
This blog post is by Dirk Vennix, CTI Chief Executive
Can Economic Growth and Sustainability co-exist? This question has been debated for decades and is at the core of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) taking place this week in Paris.
Preserving Earth’s resources implies not only the switch to a low carbon, sustainable and long-lasting economic model, but also the engagement of all the productive sectors. In other words: global issues require global and innovative solutions.
The challenge is huge but the timber industries are ready to tackle it head on. Timber is the only true renewable construction and manufacturing material and we want to reinforce this message. Flexible, mouldable and low-energy processed, timber-based products could really contribute to a low carbon economy, helping UK to achieve its carbon reduction targets.
Several research studies show that increasing the use of wooden products from sustainable managed forests would have beneficial implications on the environment: - replanting of harvested trees ; - storing carbon in timber products ; - promoting woodland expansion all over the world ; - reducing emissions and air pollution .
If the equation is easy to understand - more trees planted = more CO2 absorbed – we still have a long way go to spread this message to key decision makers and opinion formers. The Confederation of Timber Industries will do its share in promoting this new approach. With the help of our supporters including timber supply chain companies and environmental organisations, we are going to publish a report on growing the use of sustainable timber in May 2016.
The aim will be to report on the future of timber as the only truly sustainable material and how the sector could develop a credible place at the forefront of the low carbon economy. Replenishing natural resources, both domestically and globally, is our responsibility, as well as enhancing a sustainable and prosperous model business model.
The CTI Board has already agreed clear objectives in its strategic plan (2015-2017) which will be covered by the report, including: - develop the case for low carbon footprint in the domestic market; - ensure there is consistent application of standards through established certification schemes; - improve application and enforcement of timber related regulation in key EU member states.
To expand on the last objective the report will include an analysis of the EU’s review of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). Although it represents a valid tool to tackle illegal logging and trade, its effectiveness is clearly undermined by loopholes and exceptions . Similarly we believe the implementation of the EUTR should be more closely aligned with other related policies such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade).
The CTI welcomes the application of consistent standards, clear due diligence requirements and fair competition between companies in different member states. There is substantial scope for improvements to the EUTR and the CTI strongly supports the WWF and trade associations who are already campaigning on the issues surrounding timber regulation in the EU.
The more united we stand, the more chance we have to make an impact around the decision-making tables.
 “In managed European forests there are five trees planted for each harvested”, Timber Accord, 2014
 “Roughly one tonne of carbon is stored for every metre cubed of timber used. If we build 200,000 new houses in timber it would store around 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year”, Wood For Good, 2014
 “Europe’s forests have increased by almost 13 million ha - about the size of Greece - in the past 15 years through new planting and natural expansion of forests,” Forest Europe report, 2011
 “By increasing the UK’s forest cover from 13 to 16%, we could reduce around 10% of our national CO2 emissions by 2050”, Timber Accord, 2014
 For instance, the EUTR excludes seat products (including chairs and sofas) from its scope alongside musical instruments, soft furnishings and toys. The TTF has estimated that the EUTR currently only covers approximately 40% of products by value that originate from forests