UK announces environmentally-friendly timber buying policy
The announcement follows an independent assessment by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) of five different forest certification schemes. The assessment was undertaken to establish which schemes could provide assurance to government buyers that their timber comes from “legal and sustainable” sources.
A report from the government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) shows that two of the schemes assessed — the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) — guarantee that their certified products come from “legal and sustainable” sources. The other three are only able to guarantee legality.
“At last the government has done something concrete to ensure that it no longer buys wood products which do undue damage to the environment," said Tessa Robertson, Head of the WWF-UK Forests Programme and a member of the CPET advisory group.
“Until now there have been lots of fancy words and good intentions, but now policy is being implemented that will make a real difference.”
This means that the government — the country’s biggest consumer of wood products — will be creating a much greater demand for timber from well managed forests, and hopefully will have a knock-on effect on the purchasing policies of local authorities and the private sector.
The only certification scheme which currently fulfils WWF’s own criteria for responsible forest management is the FSC, which takes into consideration social as well as environmental concerns. WWF, however, has expressed its concerns to the government that social criteria were not included in the CPET assessment.
* With only 10 per cent of the world's forests in protected areas, the way in which forests outside these areas are managed is a key conservation issue. Credible and independent forest certification schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) can be a powerful tool to promote responsible forest management and give recognition in the market place to timber from well-managed forests.
*In addition to forest certification, WWF is promoting community forest management, addressing illegal logging, providing guidance on high conservation value forests, and improving forest policies and dialogue with stakeholders as complementary approaches to improve forest management.
For further information:
Rob McNeil, Senior Press Officer
Tel: +44 1 483 412 375