Industry News

Ghana: New study by GTF describes existing gender balance and makes recommendations

The Global Timber Forum (GTF) has published a commissioned analysis of gender in the wood processing sector in Ghana.

The new study reveals that in the wood processing sector women workers are much less visible than their male counterparts yet are involved in multiple areas of the value chain. This involvement ranges from the administration and provision of labour through to acting as financiers of business.

At a country-level, other studies on gender balance have previously shown that Ghana outperforms many regional neighbours in sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, the country ranks 72 out of 144 countries across all criteria in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017 and has a particularly high score for the criteria of “economic participation and opportunity”.

The study identifies the following key findings:

  • Participation of women exists across all points of the wood processing sector.
  • Roles assigned to men and women in the sector are however defined by the historical and socio-cultural context.
  • Women’s involvement in leadership and governance of wood processing associations is relatively lower than that of men.
  • There is limited understanding and appreciation of the impact of gender imbalances in the sector, even amongst those men and women working in the sector.
  • Actors in the sector lack knowledge of existing laws on women’s rights to engage in, and have a voice in, the sector.

In terms of business opportunity for the wood processing sector, the United Nations Development Programme cited a figure of 95 billion USD as lost to productivity every year through the failure to integrate women into national economies across sub-Saharan Africa.

The study therefore makes a series of recommendations for policy makers as well as for the associations that represent the wood processing sector.

Selected recommendations made in the study:

  • Cultural limitations to women’s agency should be acknowledged and, where necessary, purposive strategies should be followed for example where the aim is to increase women’s engagement in leadership and governance.
  • State agencies should invest in awareness raising about gender and in building capacity of their staff, and of wood processing sector associations’ leadership, in gender and gender analysis.
  • Association leadership should sensitise membership about what gender is about and raise awareness of its relevance to the contributions both female and male members make to the sector.
  • Associations should carry out simple participatory gender analysis of their organisation and members. This will increase understanding of the needs, interests and fears of both men and women engaged in the sector.

 

Learning from success

As part of the study one company was highlighted as having made a number of policy changes to improve the gender balance as well as the types of jobs available to each gender. The Bibiani Logs and Lumber Company Limited, is a family-owned business that has been in operation since the late 1960s. It employs 371 people of which women constitute 100. The Chairperson of the company is a woman.

Both men and women are given equal opportunities for self-development on the job without any discrimination. The company’s policies make it a requirement for both men and women to be trained on all areas of production. As a result, the company has women operating the veneer milling machines.

Recent interviews demonstrate that the steps taken on gender by the leadership of the company has increased awareness and acceptance of opportunities of equal value for men and women in the company.

Study author, Nana Ama Yirrah, said “The study clearly shows an opportunity for the Ghanaian wood processing industry to attain the business benefits of a more diverse workforce. The SME wood processing industry has a wide range of pressing business challenges, but I believe this study shows that some small steps can be taken now to create a more favourable gender environment. For example, this can start with putting in place gender sensitive policies and appropriate sensitisation and training.”

As part of the study one company was highlighted as having made a number of policy changes to improve the gender balance as well as the types of jobs available to each gender. The Bibiani Logs and Lumber Company Limited, is a family-owned business that has been in operation since the late 1960s. It employs 371 people of which women constitute 100. The Chairperson of the company is a woman.

Both men and women are given equal opportunities for self-development on the job without any discrimination. The company’s policies make it a requirement for both men and women to be trained on all areas of production. As a result, the company has women operating the veneer milling machines.

Recent interviews demonstrate that the steps taken on gender by the leadership of the company has increased awareness and acceptance of opportunities of equal value for men and women in the company.

Study author, Nana Ama Yirrah, said “The study clearly shows an opportunity for the Ghanaian wood processing industry to attain the business benefits of a more diverse workforce. The SME wood processing industry has a wide range of pressing business challenges, but I believe this study shows that some small steps can be taken now to create a more favourable gender environment. For example, this can start with putting in place gender sensitive policies and appropriate sensitisation and training.”

 

Notes

  1. The full study can be found here
  2. During 2017 the GTF commissioned Nana Ama Yirrah to undertake an analysis of gender in the forest industries sector in Ghana.
  3. Nana Ama Yirrah is a Land Economist, Development Policy Analyst and Gender Specialist by profession with over 21 years of experience in land and natural resource governance, land policy, women’s land rights and development practice.
  4. Methodology involved interviews with forestry association members and public sector agencies, with fifty-one interviews being held in total, representing fourteen associations and institutions, with ten of the interviewees being women. Research tools were participatory and included application of a simple gender analytical framework combined with story-telling and case studies.
  5. The study has been funded by UK Aid from the UK government, however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ghana-new-study-gtf-describes-existing-gender-balance-and-makes-recommendations]

Waugh Thistleton Architects launch '100 Projects UK CLT' book

Waugh Thistleton Architects, in collaboration with the Softwood Lumber Board & Forestry Innovation Investment, have recently launched the book 100 Projects UK CLT.

The one hundred projects featured in the book were selected from over 500 completed CLT projects in the UK.

"Over the last 15 years the UK has experienced a quiet revolution in construction," write the authors. "Since the modest efforts of the first small buildings in the early 2000s a blossoming array of CLT projects has emerged across a range of building types and scales. In 2017, three out of the five buildings nominated for the Stirling Prize, the UK’s top architecture award, were constructed from CLT. Engineered timber buildings are now firmly part of our construction landscape."

"This book presents the case for using engineered timber with one hundred studies encompassing a wide range of scales, styles and types. Also included is a compendium outlining the benefits of CLT along with the considerations for designing and building in this revolutionary material."

"We often refer to human civilisations by the principal materials they employ, such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age etc. In this vein, the 20th century can be very much called the Concrete Age and it seems very likely that the 21st century will be the Timber Age."

A digital version of the book can be downloaded for free on ThinkWood website here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/waugh-thistleton-architects-launch-100-projects-uk-clt-book]

New glasshouse opens in Cheshire to boost timber production and help grow Public Forest Estate

On Friday 31st August, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP opened a new glasshouse in Cheshire.

The glasshouse is intended to bring a boost to timber production and help to grow the Public Forest Estate. The state-of-the-art growing facility covers a hectare and has tight environmental controls, creating better growing conditions for the four million seedlings it will house.

The glasshouse will play a vital role in the maintenance and expansion of the Public Forest Estate throughout the UK, with the seedlings helping timber production and improving biosecurity. it will be fully stocked with a mix of species and ages by 2020.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said at the opening: "It is wonderful to be here to officially open this impressive new structure which will help ensure our forests are stocked with trees in a more sustainable and productive fashion."

"The forests and woodlands that these trees will go on to be a part of are vital for providing timber, protecting wildlife, and helping us improve our environment for the next generation."

Simon Hodgson, Forestry Commission England, Chief Executive said: "The largest glasshouse dedicated to forest trees in the UK means that Forestry Commission England will be able to plant around five million of the very best trees every year in the nation’s forests for timber, recreation and wildlife as well as supplying trees to Scotland and Wales. We are increasing the diversity of tree species we plant so the nation’s forests are resilient; protecting them from pests, diseases and the effects of a changing climate."

[Source: www.gov.uk]

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/new-glasshouse-opens-cheshire-boost-timber-production-and-help-grow-public-forest-estate]

Innovative rooftop made of modular timber homes proposed for Berlin's complex

Architect Sigurd Larsen and his team took part in the City Above the City architecture design competition organised by Metsä Wood in 2016. Their project "Dachkiez, Village on the Roof," was one of the winners in the competition. This year, the project and the architect were invited to the Venice Biennale.

The Venice Biennale of Architecture is globally one of the biggest exhibitions for architecture. The event takes place every other year, and this year it lasts from 26 May until 25 November. The main architecture exhibition takes place at 30 pavilions in the Venice Giardini, many of them designed by the biggest names in architecture, like Carlo Scarpa and Alvar Aalto.

 

City Above the City competition

Metsä Wood's competition inspired architects worldwide to design wooden extensions to go on top of existing buildings in city centres. Some 170 entries from 40 countries proposed wooden solutions to the challenges of urbanisation. The idea was to show how wooden materials, like Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) can make construction fast, light and green.

Sigurd Larsen together with Simon Jendreizig, Vanessa Panagiotopoulou, Marlene Kjeldsen, Guillermo Fernandez Villar and Pedro Campos Altozano designed a project called "Dachkiez, Village on the Roof" for the competition. A massive, 270-metre-long concrete block in Berlin was selected as the building plot for the design. The building is located at Heinrich-Heine-Straße between the attractive Kreuzberg and Mitte neighbourhoods.

In Dachkiez, the extension on top of the building is designed to use a flexible, wooden, modular system. The basic module is an apartment suitable for singles or couples. The basic unit can be extended with one or two plug-in modules, which can include additional bedrooms and an extension to the bathroom. The design also includes common areas like a green park on the rooftop. Each unit has big windows with a view of the Berlin skyline.

"This entry was both believable and utterly relevant to its social and urban context. It's entirely possible to construct and adds a further layer of landscape to the city," commented competition jury member Mike Kane, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at London South Bank University.

 

Sigurd Larsen design & architecture studio

Sigurd Larsen is a Danish architect based in Berlin and working in the fields of architecture and furniture design. He uses wood as the main material in the majority of his work. "The haptic of the material, the endless possibilities and the many positive attributes regarding sustainability make it a convincing choice," says Larsen.

Larsen founded his own design studio in 2009. This is his first invitation to the Biennale. "I was very excited about the invitation. We had a lot of great feedback from visitors. Several journalists described the Dachkiez project under the topic of wood construction, densification of inner cities and housing shortage."

Read a full description of the "Dachkiez, Village on the Roof" project here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/innovative-rooftop-made-modular-timber-homes-proposed-berlins-complex]

Treated construction timber no threat to indoor air quality, says BRE review

Preservative treated timber is present in a range of construction products in our homes, including parts of the structural timber frame, window frames, tiling battens and in the roof structure. 

In mid-2017, the Wood Protection Association (WPA) commissioned the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to help understand how treated timber performs in the context of air quality within buildings.

The review considered industrially pre-treated wood products that have been impregnated with a wood preservative formulation in the context of a 2017 new build UK domestic construction.

BRE's research concluded that "the available scientific evidence suggests that emissions from preservative treated wood articles to air are small and further to that the complexity of the pathway from air within the building envelope/cavity to the indoor air compartment means that the concentration reaching indoor air is negligible. Thus, the evidence indicates preservative treated wood poses no threat to indoor air quality."

Since the BRE recommends considering further research and testing to add to the existing knowledge, the WPA has already made it known that more specific studies on the subject will be carried out.

A summary of the BRE report can be found here

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/treated-construction-timber-no-threat-indoor-air-quality-says-bre-review]

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