WWF report is 'embarrassment' for British public sector, could increase demand for sustainable timber after revealing only half of U.K's 433 local authorities have sustainable timber procurement plan

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Apr 3, 2012 – Forestry Research Analysis

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Washington , March 29, 2012 (press release) – Forestry Research Analysis (FRA), a research and advisory consultancy, claims that the publication of a report into public sector timber procurement in the UK could lead to a greater demand for sustainable timber.

The high profile World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report has proven an embarrassment for the British public sector as it shows only half of the country’s 433 local authorities have a sustainable timber procurement plan in place. As a result, FRA claims that as much as ten per cent of the timber being used by the more than 200 local authorities could be from non-EU, illegal sources.

“As soon as these figures come out, most of the authorities will have to do something to repair their reputations and green credentials,” stated FRA’s analysis partner, Peter Collins.

The ‘Barking up the right tree?’ report found that 40 per cent of all timber imported to the UK is used by the public sector, with up to ten per cent of this being from questionable sources. Of the 433 authorities questioned only 16 were actually implementing their sustainable procurements plan effectively, while a few more showed immediate interest in improving their practices.

Changes will have to be made very quickly to the way in which timber is procured in the UK as, from 3 March 2013, the EU will be able to ban illegally sourced timber form the UK altogether.

Here at FRA, we hope that this will lead to a change in attitude among UK local government, who we believe have a responsibility to set a standard for how the timber they use is sourced,” added Mr Collins.

He also claimed that the law change could lead to a major increase in the demand for sustainable timber, such as that grown by firms like Greenwood Management in plantations in Brazil.

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