News & Events

Sarawak opts for mandatory forest certification under MTCS

In November, the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) welcomed a move by the state government for mandatory forest certification in Sarawak, Malaysia.

The announcement was made by Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, at the State Assembly. Yong Teng Koon, who heads MTCC, welcomed the development noting that forest certification was an important instrument to promote and verify the implementation of sustainable forest management in order to safeguard environmental, social and economic benefits.

He also pointed out that - as forestry and timber industries contributed significantly to the socio-economic development of the country - it is imperative that Malaysia is able to demonstrate its forest sustainability credentials through certification.

Timber concessions in Sarawak will be required to obtain forest management certification under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) to demonstrate that they are responsibly managed. The MTCS which sets the requirements for sustainable forest management certification in Malaysia, was the first Asian scheme to be endorsed by PEFC Council.

 

[News URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/sarawak-opts-certification-under-malaysian-timber-certification-scheme]

ICF 'Innovation for Change' conference | 2-3 May 2018 | Edinburgh

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) will be holding its 'Innovation for Change – New drivers for tomorrow’s forestry' conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 2-3 May 2018.

The event is set to focus on the impact of a fourth industrial revolution, one fusing science and technology so fast that it’s now hard to keep pace. The programme will explore not just how it affects the way we operate and the changes that will bring to the forestry and arboricultural sector, but also the human shifts of mind set and ethics quite unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

'Innovation for Change' will be opened by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP.  Other speakers include: Fiona Lickorish, Cranfield University (strategic foresight to manage change); Prof Tariq Butt, Swansea University (biopesticide-based tree pest controls); Prof John Mackay, University of Oxford (biotechnology and tree breeding); Jeremie Leonard, BioCarbon Engineering (unmanned aerial vehicles); Prof Iain H Woodhouse, University of Edinburgh and Carbomap (remote sensing innovations); Juan Suárez-Minguez, Forest Research (detection of tree stress by thermal imagery); Sharon Hosegood FICFor, Sharon Hosegood Associates Ltd (radar surveys of urban tree roots); and Prof Stefano Pascucci, University of Exeter Business School (Circular Economy).

FPInnovations, where Francis Charette is Associate Research Leader, are specialists in creating innovative scientific solutions for forestry. During his presentation on the opening day of the conference, Francis will talk about the benefits and challenges of automation in forestry; one of the many areas where we will also have to consider ethics when we look at our future workforce.

Commenting on the significance of the Institute’s 2018 National Conference, Chair and ICF Associate member Chris Hamill said: “Our working environment is becoming increasingly competitive, meaning identification of emerging innovation is fundamental to staying ahead of the game. It’s an all-round foundation that we’re laying – not just in technology and science, but also in how we sensitively approach challenges, such as the human impact of a changing sector."

“The Institute’s calls for us to continually improve, and the National Conference offers just that - a proven platform for knowledge exchange that you can use. All part of maintaining excellence in our industry.”

For more info and registration, click here.

View this event on the CTI Industry Calendar.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/icf-innovation-change-conference-2-3-may-2018-edinburgh]

CTI Blog - Why the latest reset of environmental policy could be good for woodworking

This guest blog post is by Matthew Mahony, Policy and Communications Executive at the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). It originally appeared on the BWF website.

 

Although it’s been overshadowed by more immediate concerns such as the collapse of Carillion, last week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched its much anticipated its 25-Year Environment Plan, a document that could have major implications for the UK timber industry.

The plan sits alongside both the Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth Strategy and identifies key areas around which policy will be focused, including increasing resource efficiency and reducing pollution and waste.

 

Why government should believe in being braver

With the new Plan and the recent Clean Growth Strategy(*), we’re seeing a government that is again dipping its toe into the water on environmental issues. And why not? There is a clear public mandate to adopt an ambitious agenda on environmental sustainability. It’s a genuine cross party issue which is supported by polling data that there is substantial support to strengthen current environmental regulations in the wake of Brexit.

Although the championing of a ‘Green Brexit’ and a ‘Blue Planet PM’ is a little insincere, there will be opportunities to retain ‘the good stuff’ in strategy terms if no longer in name. This would include the popular EU Timber Regulation which was the stated reason why David Cameron’s government stopped short of new criminal offences under UK law for the import and possession of illegal timber.

If the government decides to convert public support for our green and pleasant land into real political capital, Brexit could provide an opportunity to loosen the shackles of existing state aid rules. Taxation incentives for sustainable products could support businesses doing things the right way and avoid endemic short-termism, a big problem in a construction industry tasked with delivering 300,000 extra homes per year by the middle of the next decade and addressing the issue of a leaky existing building stock.

 

So what of the plan?

The plan itself is certainly lightweight – essentially a list of ‘good things’ which doesn’t go far enough. It’s not far off being at home on Buzzfeed, but in an era when government thinking on sustainability seems stuck between ambivalence and opportunism, it’s encouraging to see a renewed commitment to basics such as tackling climate change, promoting recycling and protecting the forests - even the elusive Great Crested Newt gets a mention.

Many of these aims have clear benefits for woodworking and the use of wood products over less sustainable alternatives, not least the targets to achieve zero avoidable plastic waste, maximise the benefits of the UK’s woodlands, protect international forests and support zero-deforestation supply chains.

There is also a recognition that market forces alone are often insufficient in recognising the social, economic and environmental gains from the better deployment of resources, materials and products.

 

Natural capitalism

Perhaps most encouraging of all within the plan is the reaffirmation of the Industrial Strategy pledge to support a Natural Capital approach. This will help account for the true value of England’s wood and forests. As well as reflecting more of the wellbeing benefits of a wood culture, the approach accounts for Carbon sequestration – the process by which trees lock-up and store carbon from the atmosphere - and a measurement that can better indicate the true worth of the products we make.

In my opinion, if government is to adopt a long term plan, then this is a good start but we need something akin to an Environmental Constitution to give more robust protection from the type of mercurial decision making that we’ve seen on issues including Fixed-term parliaments and selling off Britain’s forests.

 

How soon is now?

Where the government’s intentions fall short for me is that setting up a long term plan is all very good but there needs to be more of a sense of urgency across the board. If we are to get millions of new homes within the next decade as the government hopes, then we don’t want inefficient, leaky houses stuffed with single use plastics - we need to address today’s problems today and setting the framework for this can’t wait, especially as hitting the reset button on such issues has cost valuable time.

We want to see millions less deliveries during construction, millions of tonnes of CO2 taken from the atmosphere and stored in the built environment and millions less tonnes of hazardous legacy materials. It should be a no-brainer that large construction projects must be mandated to account for social value and sustainability and are required to use materials that are sustainable and responsibly sourced. NB: in the wake of the Carillion debacle, it’s easy to forget that the three elements of sustainable development that government should now account for in the built environment are social, environmental and economic sustainability.

To bring the plan forward, government also needs to be more open to new initiatives and drivers, particularly within construction. There are some great innovations out there, not least those that BWF and its timber industry colleagues have been working on and those coming from Europe and North America.

Although there are too many to list, promising initiatives close to home include Powys County Council’s Homegrown Homes initiative and its Wood Encouragement Policy aimed at supporting forestry and product manufacturing, retaining and creating new jobs and building better, and more energy efficient houses.

If we want real progress by 2022 rather than 2042, now is the time to start acting on solutions. I can think of a good place to begin

 

(*) Read the CTI response to the Clean Growth Strategy here

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/why-latest-reset-environmental-policy-could-be-good-woodworking]

UK consumption of timber and panel products on the rise despite Brexit uncertainty, says TTF Statistical Review

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently released its Statistical review 2017.

The publication shows that growth in the consumption of wood products in the UK resumed in 2016, following a small drop in volume the previous year. A near 3% volume increase resulted in the volume of wood products consumed rising to over 16 million m3 for the first time since before the recession of 2008.

Regarding the origin of timber and panel products imported to the UK, Europe remains the single largest source of supply in 2016 by both volume and value. In details, mainland European (including Russia) and UK produced timber and panel products continue to dominate the supply chain in the UK and continue to account for around 91% of all supply.

Talking of types of products imported, the Review shows that UK imports grew by 4.4% in 2016 over 2015. This growth was especially generated by growth in particleboards (+12%), MDF (+9%) and softwoods (+6%). A near 1% increase was recorded for plywood imports but hardwood imports were lower in 2016 by around 2%. On the other hand, the level of UK timber and panel products exports remains quite low, achieving a volume of 0.5 million m3.

Finally, the publication presents a focus on the influence of the housing market on timber consumption along with an insight on the state of the whole Timber Industry. Significantly, the Review shows that the size and growth performance of the UK timber industry – worthy £9.6 billion in 2015 - compares favourably with many other industries, confirming the importance of the sector within the UK economy.

David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, commented: “In terms of the value of wood products consumed in the UK, the year 2016 was the best since before the recession and indeed was better than the pre-recessionary year of 2007.”

“Although little changed materially in 2016, a high degree of uncertainty for the future was created by the EU Referendum result.”

“Different and new challenges are and will be presented, yet the timber industry has a long and mostly successful history of dealing with change. For our part, The TTF will keep on supporting member companies and new partners, putting programs in place for the benefit of the whole supply chain, and continue looking forward to facing the future together.”

If you wish to receive a copy of the publication, please contact [email protected]

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-consumption-timber-and-panel-products-rise-despite-brexit-uncertainty-says-ttf]

TTF to host FLEGT exhibition at the Building Centre from 5 February to 31 March 2018

From 5th February to 31st March 2018, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) - in conjunction with the Built Environment Trust - will be hosting an exhibition at the Building Centre in London to promote the achievement of FLEGT licensing in Indonesia.

The exhibition will showcase the products, the stories and the process involved in the EU FLEGT Action Plan in Indonesia, contributing to raise awareness of FLEGT to a broader audience, ranging from architects and designers, to students and politicians and the wider public.

The TTF will also host a private viewing evening, with Hilary Benn MP confirmed as a key speaker, on Tuesday 20th February. Details of the event will be shared in due course.

"Thanks to the launch of the FLEGT licensing in November 2016, Indonesia has now entered a new stage in its timber export process", explains TTF Head of Sustainability Mike Worrell. 

"We hope this exhibition - made possible by the collaboration between the TTF and Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry - will help both Timber Industry stakeholders and the wider public have a better understanding of how FLEGT and all it encompasses." 

Indonesia is one of the world's largest exporters of tropical timber and timber products, which are produced from logging activities in natural forests, industrial plantations and community-managed small-scale plantings. Indonesia became the first country to begin issuing FLEGT licences to verified legal timber and timber products exported to the EU, in November 2016.

In October 2017, in preparation for the 1-year anniversary of FLEGT licensing in Indonesia, TTF's Head of Policy and Sustainability Mike Worrell, visited the country as part of our DfID grant work to explore the processes behind licensing. You can see a Storify summarising the findings of this trip here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ttf-host-flegt-exhibition-building-centre-5-february-31-march-2018]

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