Industry News

EFI study analyses contribution of wood products to climate change mitigation

A new science-policy report from the European Forest Institute (EFI) demonstrates that using wood-based products to substitute greenhouse gas intensive-materials can have important climate benefits.

The authors reviewed 51 existing studies to provide an up-to-date synthesis of scientific knowledge on the greenhouse gas emissions of products made from wood and from alternative materials, over their entire lifetime.

While the positive role of forests in climate change mitigation is generally well perceived, the contribution of wood products to mitigation is much less known and understood. Current reporting on greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and related processes does not attribute the substitution benefits of wood-based products directly to the forest sector. However, this information is important when developing optimal strategies on how forests and the forest sector can maximise their contribution to climate change mitigation. 

The study concludes that for each ton of C in wood products that substitute non-wood products, average emissions are reduced by approximately 1.2 ton C. Expressed in a different unit, this corresponds to about 2.2 ton of CO2 emissions reduction per ton of wood product. The substitution effects vary significantly, depending on the wood product and technology that is considered and the methods used to estimate emissions.

The study coordinator, Pekka Leskinen, said: “It is also crucial to remember that the greenhouse gas substitution impact of wood products is only one component in climate change mitigation. The substitution factor alone should not form the basis of policies, since the overall climate impacts of forests depend also on forest carbon sinks, forest soil and carbon stored in wood products.”

The study also identifies limitations and important research gaps that should be covered to have a better understanding of the substitution effects – for example there is a lack of knowledge on the climate impacts of emerging wood-based products like textiles and biochemicals.

Download the study here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/efi-study-analyses-contribution-wood-products-climate-change-mitigation]

Government consultation confirms the suitability of timber cladding for all building types below 18m in height

The outcome of the government’s in depth assessment of the use of different cladding materials in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy has confirmed that timber, where necessary enhanced with flame retardant (depending on aspect), remains fit for purpose and compliant with amended Building Regulations (in England), where the upper floor level of a building is less than 18m above ground, so enabling the market for this safe, environmentally positive, versatile and attractive cladding material to continue to grow.

This is the approach that Wood Protection Association (WPA) and the Confederation of Timber Industries lobbied for throughout the consultation period and we are pleased to see government has listened to our industry’s views. Buildings where the upper floor level exceeds 18m above external ground level – which do not represent a significant market for timber cladding - pose special design challenges and the decision to make non-combustible external cladding mandatory for this category was anticipated as a sensible design precaution in the wake of the lessons learnt from Grenfell Tower. The use of timber doors, door frames and windows in external walls on buildings over 18m continues to be approved.

Timber continues to be approved as a suitable material for external cladding under Building Regulations below 18m and where these regulations call for enhanced fire performance, tried and tested flame-retardant treatment processes are available to provide it. The fire performance of wood is well understood and years of experience in the use of timber cladding on all types of buildings combined with rigorous fire test requirements in BS and EN Standards has enhanced this understanding.

The reaction to fire properties of most wood-based materials can be enhanced by the application of flame retardants under factory-controlled conditions. WPA operates three complementary, independent quality schemes to verify flame retardant enhanced timber products have been manufactured appropriately for their intended end use under the WPA Benchmark FR banner.

Full technical details of these recent amendments to Building Regulations can be found in the new WPA FR Factsheet 5 “External Timber Cladding: Guidance to Amended Building Regulations December 2018”, available now free to download here.

Read also: Combustible Materials Response, Implications for Timber Industry

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/government-consultation-confirms-suitability-timber-cladding-all-building-types-below-18m]

Fair&Precious, the collective label for legal and eco-certified African timber celebrates its first anniversary

To mark the first anniversary of the international Fair&Precious label, created by the ATIBT (International Tropical Timber Technical Association) whose mission is to promote the development of a sustainable, ethical and legal tropical timber sector, the time has come to take stock of the label's missions and to open up new perspectives.

Created in November 2017, the Fair & Precious collective label aims to persuade European consumers to purchase products that use ecological and responsibly-sourced materials. By allowing the final consumer to clearly identify African timber and guaranteeing that it does not come from illegal distributors but from logging producers that are managed sustainably and responsibly, Fair&Precious has become a real landmark.

"Whether promoters or prescribers of the label, F&P members believe in the emergence of a more humane economy, protecting both humans and nature in a relocated economy," explains ATIBT spokesperson. "Beyond the environmental dimension of its commitment, F&P puts all its energy into defending social and societal causes such as respect for local populations, their education and their health."

In order for a forest concession holder to benefit from the Fair&Precious label, they must both be a member of ATIBT and use a control procedure approved by the ATIBT Board of Directors, such as FSC or PEFC sustainable forest management certification. These labels are controlled by certification bodies such as Bureau Veritas and are there to guarantee the application of strict rules to ensure the traceability of the material from the forest to the finished product.

"In 2016, only 30%* of the products made in the European Union with tropical wood were certified as being produced in a sustainable way. If the Netherlands (63% in 2016), the United Kingdom (49%), Germany (20%), France (12%), Belgium (12%), Italy (5%) and Spain (4%) committed to a 100% Fair&Precious target, this would represent 85.6% of all EU purchases and especially 5.3 million additional protected hectares," underlines ATIBT.

Benoit Jobbé Duval, Director of ATIBT commented: "We are very proud to have brought together so many prestigious partners around our project, all of whom are fighting the same battle, to guarantee the future of tropical forests, to participate in their sustainable management and above all to make citizens aware of their missions and their importance.”

Fair&Precious' 10 commitments through its manifesto

  • Manage and protect forests to combat climate change
  • Preserve forest resources by harvesting less than naturally grows
  • Develop knowledge on biodiversity to facilitate the restocking of species
  • Ensure the maintenance of the wildlife's living space
  • Implement programmes to combat environmental crime against fauna and flora
  • Contribute to the well-being of populations by facilitating their access to education, health care and housing
  • Stimulate the economies of producing countries by enhancing the value of forests and promoting local wood processing
  • Set up training courses in forestry and woodworking professions
  • Provide technical knowledge on the diversity of tropical species and their uses
  • Promote the responsible purchase of an exceptional material

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fairprecious-collective-label-legal-and-eco-certified-african-timber-celebrates-its-first]

Forestry investment remains a top performer, says UK Forest Market Report 2018

The UK Forest Market Report 2018, launched in London, has revealed that patience and shrewd forestry investment choices have paid dividends over the last 12 months.

Many UK forest owners who purchased their property 30 or 40 years ago are now reaping exceptional rewards for patiently growing their timber assets. Not only is their investment showing returns of 13.9% per annum –  one of the best performing asset classes - but the price of standing timber has soared 30% in the last year alone.

The 20th edition of The UK Forest Market Report is produced by Tilhill Forestry and John Clegg & Co and provides analysis of this growth and further commentary about forestry as an investment choice. The report also features a study on the lowland woodland sector.

In discussing the performance of the commercial forestry market in the year to September 2018, the report describes a “brisk and robust” sector. A total of £104.2m of forest properties were traded in 2018. This is a 6% drop from 2017 but, interestingly, the market comprised a smaller number of higher value sales (57 in 2018 compared to 87 in 2017) with an average size of 196ha (149ha in 2017) and an average price of £1.83m (£1.28m in 2017). Scotland retained its dominant position in the marketplace with 69% of the sales recorded.

The report points out that standing timber prices have rocketed by around 30% over the last 12 months - great news for owners whose forests are now ready to harvest.

Additionally, despite political uncertainty, the report suggests that new agricultural policies may be on the horizon that will encourage a more integrated approach to land use particularly with forestry and farming.

The report says: “Overall we believe that the market continues to behave robustly in the light of the wider economic environment, demonstrating the strength and resilience of forestry as a long-term investment. New investors are coming through to investigate the marketplace with many of these based within the EU and reassuringly confident to invest in the UK.”

Peter Whitfield, Business Development Director for Tilhill Forestry, explains: “Motivations for investors vary but the main reasons are long-term financial returns, the potential for tax planning, long-term capital growth particularly within a pension, or the amenity value.

“The wider economic climate remains highly volatile but, in this environment, the security of owning real assets, the improvement in timber prices and general confidence that these can be sustained and strong political support for the industry together with the amenity values mean that forestry remains an attractive choice for many investors.”

Fenning Welstead, Director John Clegg & Co., said that the level of competition was “remarkable” and that the demand from investors seeking ownership of forestry assets has never been stronger in his experience.

He added: “The upward movement in the price of timber in the last 12 months has been staggering. It has been driven partly by the weak pound and more expensive imports but also, I believe, by the dawning realisation that the supply of fibre is finite.

“The UK is the second largest timber importer in the world. With more interest in forestry and the wide range of benefits forests offer, and an increase in planting, perhaps we can start to reduce the amount of timber we import.”

More conifers were planted in Scotland last year than in any year since 2000 and encouragingly, the report says, Forestry Commission Scotland has reported strong demand for woodland creation schemes for 2018/19 and 2019/20 with over 12,000ha being assessed - well exceeding their target of 10,000ha per year.

The forestry grant budget in Scotland has been increased for 2018/19 to accommodate the increased demand - a clear sign of how the Scottish Government perceives the importance of forestry as part of the rural economy.

The report welcomes this and other “very positive steps” taken in support of commercial afforestation such as the announcement of a Forestry Investment Zone in the north of England, the appointment of two Forestry Commission Woodland Creation Officers and the appointment of Sir William Worsley as the Tree Champion for England. Forestry also enjoyed a mention in the latest budget with £60 million of funding to be put in place for tree planting in England.

Another encouraging sign centres on the concept of Natural Capital which is at the heart of the UK’s 25 Year Environment Plan. It recognises that forestry is more than just an asset for timber extraction and offers much broader societal benefits such as cleaner air, flood reduction, carbon storage and health improvement.

For a copy of the Report please click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/forestry-investment-remains-top-performer-says-uk-forest-market-report-2018]

WPA responds to government call for input to future EU trade negotiations

To ensure that the rules of origin agreed with the EU reflect the needs of UK business in the timber sector, the Wood Protection Association (WPA) will be working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI).

"We want to ensure that the UK government negotiating position directly reflects the needs of all sectors in the UK timber industry supply chain," said Gordon Ewbank, WPA Chief Executive Officer.

As part of this discussion, WPA is also focusing on the implications and issues which affect its chemical manufacturing members, all of which are international businesses with significant interests in cross border trading.

BEIS is setting up sector advisory panels which will brief government officials on key issues of concern ahead of negotiations with the EU and act as a sounding board for questions which arise during negotiations. CTI delegates will form the core of a future Wood Panel government sounding board.

BEIS is hosting three EU Exit Seminars in the next few weeks in collaboration with HSE, Defra and the Alliance of Chemical Associations. The events are in London, Leeds and Liverpool and are free to attend. 
 
The purpose is to help chemicals businesses and downstream users of chemicals to understand the potential impacts of EU Exit on their business in key areas such as regulation, tariffs/rules of origin and customs/border processes.
 
This is an opportunity for anyone to ask questions of policy officials, advise Government on the impact of EU Exit on your business and help to shape the negotiation and policy positions that will support the sector.

  • London - Friday 23 November at BEIS Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, SW1H 0ET
  • Leeds - Tuesday 27 November at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds Beckett University, Quebec Street, LS1 2HT
  • Liverpool - Wednesday 5 December at Holiday Inn Liverpool, Lime Street, L1 1NQ 

For more information, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/wpa-responds-government-call-input-future-eu-trade-negotiations]

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