UK Contractors Send Strong Signal on Timber Choice

UK Contractors Send Strong Signal on Timber Choice

The UK Contractors Group (UKCG) has agreed a new statement on timber procurement and given a major boost to sustainable timber sourcing and supply for the UK construction industry. All timber products purchased for either temporary or permanent use on UKCG member sites will be certified as legally and sustainably sourced, as defined by the UK Government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET).

CPET currently approves two certification schemes as providing evidence of legal and sustainable sourcing – FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). PEFC acts as an umbrella organisation recognising over 30 national schemes, including the North American Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Malaysian Timber Council System (MTCS) scheme. These are now all acceptable with the appropriate chain of custody documentation for UKCG use.

This UKCG decision gives clear and transparent preference to products that demonstrate compliance with responsible sourcing schemes and certified by a third party. To maintain an unbroken chain of custody, all members of the UKCG will work to a common reporting method and provide documentary evidence, to demonstrate compliance with the stringent auditing process that PEFC certification provides.

The statement comes 12 months ahead of the introduction of new EU regulations. The Illegal Timber Regulation (ITR) – now commonly called the EUTR – will apply to all Member States from the 3 March 2013 and will make it illegal to place timber and timber products which have been illegally-harvested at the point of origin on the EU market.

Alun Watkins who heads up the PEFC UK programme commented: “Green building is increasingly embraced by planners, architects and contractors in many countries. Leading green building rating systems from around the globe recognise the importance of certified timber including CASBEE in Japan, the Australian Green Star Program, Built Green in Canada and the US Green Building Initiative. We therefore applaud the UK Contractors Group for demonstrating industry leadership by opting to develop a responsible timber procurement policy”.

The announcement is made in the year of RIO+20 – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. RIO+20 is taking place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

The main objective behind RIO+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess world progress to date and address new and emerging challenges for green building and ethical trading. It will involve Heads of State, Government Ministers and many top-level representatives from across the globe.

The UK is the fourth largest net importer of timber in the world. By developing and implementing a responsible timber procurement policy, the UK Contractors Group has demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that the timber and wood-based products it uses comes from legal and sustainable sources.

The UKCG policy now delivers a clear message that the procurement of legal and sustainable timber is an essential part of any supply chain and that the adoption of CPET guidance for its member’s timber procurement procedures, enables them to tap into an inclusive, wide and diverse choice of material certified by the world’s largest forest certification organisation.

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