Ministers praise timber industry on sustainability

Published:  16 December, 2009

LONDON: Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP, and Gareth Thomas, International Development Minister, have praised the UK’s timber industry for its impressive record in using certified and sustainable timber.

Speaking in response to the launch of the 2008 Timber Certification report, which shows that the use of timber certified to FSC, PEFC or similar standards has risen from 66% to 83%, Mr Benn said: “I welcome the excellent progress being made in efforts to promote certified timber in the UK. With certification levels rising to over 80%, this report sends a clear message that producers, importers, and consumers alike are increasingly recognising the importance of sustainable timber.  This is in no small part due to the commitment of the timber trade, and I hope that this positive trend will continue into the future as we continue the fight against illegal logging.”

Gareth Thomas, international development minister, said: "I welcome the progress made by the UK timber trade in increasing certified timber imports and hope that this trend will continue.

"By demanding that their timber is sourced sustainably, UK businesses are helping to bring a halt to the illegal logging which is worsening climate change and blighting the livelihoods of millions of the world's poorest people who rely on the forests for survival."

John White, chief executive of the Timber Trade Federation, which commissioned the report, welcomed the Ministers’ comments: “We are delighted with the progress that has been made over the past three years and I would echo the Ministers’ comments. The rise in certified wood is in direct response to the requirements of Government, customers and the vast majority of the industry that wants to distinguish their responsible behaviour from others. As the Report shows, it has done that very effectively.

“And, even where the timber used is not certified, the industry has put in place due diligence procedures, such as the Timber Trade Federation’s Responsible Purchasing Policy.”

The report concludes that certification in the UK has moved strongly ahead in the period between 2005 and 2008, with levels of certification rising in all sectors of the timber industry and reinforces the view that certification is central to both the present and future of the timber industry.

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