Industry News

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]

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.

View the photo gallery of the book's presentation held at The Building Centre here.

 

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

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