Industry News

'Green Deal' affected by bureaucracy and poor implementation, says BMF

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has released a note commenting the review of the Green Deal by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee.

In its contribution to the Public Accounts Committee, the BMF said that:

  • The ‘pay-as-you-save’ concept is fundamentally sound but was not working well. The Green Deal suffered from undue levels of bureaucracy (notably consumer credit, accreditation & warranties/guarantees), unattractive finance and poor implementation. Legal, financial and IT complications meant it began slowly, was too complex, and was under-promoted to the public
  • Ministers got carried away in their ambition and foolish remarks were made

Remarkably, the National Audit Office (NAO) underlined the Green Deal - which costs taxpayers £240 million - failed to deliver any meaningful benefit. The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)’s aim to encourage residents to pay for improvements looked good on paper - but yielded low-levels of energy & carbon savings and cost  £17,000 per home loan.


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Grown in Britain supports Charter consultation for woodland owners and custodians

Grown in Britain will be supporting a consultation, hosted by Sylva Foundation, aimed to enable woodland owners and custodians across the UK to help define the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

This charter - strengthened by support from more than 50 organisations, co-ordinated by the Woodland Trust - will provide guidelines and principles for policy, decision-makers, businesses, communities and individuals ensuring that people and trees can stand stronger together in the future.

"More than two-thirds of woodlands are held in private hands, so it is vital that the voices of woodland owners/custodians are captured", remarked Grown in Britain

The consultation is accessible online here.


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European sawlog prices down 9% since 2014

As reported by Wood Resources International, European sawlog prices have fallen over 9% in two years.

The biggest price declines since 2014, in Euro terms, have occurred in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Softwood sawlog prices in both Austria and Germany have been falling since early 2014, but in the 1Q/16 they reached their lowest level since the 2Q/10 (in Euro terms). In US dollar terms, the price decline has been more dramatic with current prices in the two countries being almost 30% below the average prices in the 1Q/14. Despite the substantial price reductions as of late, sawmills in Austria and Germany still have higher wood costs than lumber producers in the Nordic countries and in Eastern Europe.

The major European log supplying countries in 2015 and early 2016 have been the Czech Republic, Poland, Norway and Estonia. The average import price for spruce sawlogs has declined the past year and was about 10% lower in the 1Q/16 than in the same quarter last year.


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UK Furniture Industry pessimistic about future, BFM Trade Survey shows

The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) State of Trade Survey for June 2016 shows that the industry has become more pessimistic about the future with the worst showing in confidence for over 3 years, with both output and new order intake experiencing downward trends.  

"Virtually all the outcomes to the surveys were made before the Brexit decision and therefore manufacturers’ expectations about the future are likely to change, and probably significantly", the BFM underlines. 

For example, on balance, less than one quarter of the BFM members who took part in the survey believed raw material prices would increase through the summer and into the autumn months. Anyway, in the Brexit aftermath, with the pound losing value against most currencies including the Euro and the US Dollar, significant increases in imported freight costs are already affecting BFM members. 

Moreover, the blended sterling price of the major chemicals that feed into foam - Polyol Flexible and TDI – rose by over 7% against the Euro between the 22nd June and 29th June 2016, which was entirely the effect of the exchange rate. This will be mirrored with other material inputs.

For further information, contact the BFM here.


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Vietnam makes substantial progress towards PEFC endorsement

Vietnam is on the road to developing its own national forest certification system in line with PEFC international requirements.

As reiterated by Mr. Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Vietnamese government committed to establish the Vietnam Forest Certification Council (VFCC) which will take on the role of running the national system.

“It is fantastic to be here and see the strong desire from the national government and local stakeholders alike to develop the Vietnam Forest Certification Scheme (VFCS),” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, during his visit to the country. “The progress they have made so far, and the sheer potential for uptake of forest certification are impressive.”

“Growing PEFC Chain of Custody in Viet Nam is a vital component of expanding PEFC-certified products on the global market. Significant volumes of PEFC-certified wood are currently imported to Viet Nam for product manufacturing, and then re-exported to markets worldwide. Moreover, domestic PEFC-certified sources will also soon be available,” added Mr Gunneberg.

“Mr. Gunneberg and Mr. Ha Cong Tuan have made a strong commitment to develop and operate the Vietnam Forest Certification Scheme as soon as is possible,” highlighted Dr. Vu Tan Phuong, Director of International Cooperation and Training.

“This will support the forestry industry in meeting market demands, while at the same time will strengthen the ecological functions of our forests, particularly in the context of climate change,” Dr. Phuong concluded.


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