Timber purchasing policy

As of 1 April 2014, we have a new policy on sourcing timber, in line with best practice and the UK Government’s approach.

What is our policy?

Our policy is that we will only buy timber and wood-derived products from an independently verifiable legal and sustainable source, which can include from a licensed Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) partner.

This policy applies to all virgin timber (softwood, temperate hardwood and tropical hardwood) that is bought in connection with works projects, as well as office furniture and flooring we use internally. The policy applies to both solid timber and board products. Short rotation coppice, wood fuel, bamboo, paper and stationery products, and timber from forests owned and managed by us, are exempt.

Recycled timber can be purchased as an alternative to virgin timber, and the use of recycled timber is encouraged from a waste hierarchy perspective.

Who does it apply to?

The policy applies to all staff at all levels who are responsible for buying timber, whether as part of a formal tendering exercise, a one-off direct purchase from a supplier, via a service contractor working on our behalf, or via a grant-funding arrangement where we are the majority contributor and it is practical to adhere to this policy.

Why do we need this policy?

Illegal logging and unsustainable forest management are now recognised as global problems. They:

  • contribute to global deforestation and climate change
  • threaten many species with extinction
  • deny access to resources for forest-dependent communities
  • undermine legitimate timber companies that act responsibly
  • divert much-needed income (taxes and revenues) away from governments particularly in forest-rich developing countries

Although most prevalent in South America, Africa, South East Asia and the Russian Federation, illegal logging is also a problem in some European countries such as Poland and Estonia.

Studies in the past by WWF and the UK Government have demonstrated that illegally logged timber is entering the UK market.

Given the seriousness of the issue, and the fact that we are an organisation committed to using resources sustainably, it is important that we have a clear policy in this area.

Key principles

All the timber we buy must come with evidence which demonstrates that it is from a legal and sustainable source and there is full chain of custody (traceability from the forest source to us).

Operational instructions and guidance have been developed for staff to help them achieve policy compliance and a training programme has been rolled out across the organisation.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Head of Procurement, reporting to the Executive Director for Finance and Corporate Affairs, is responsible for overall compliance with the policy.

On a day to day basis, any member of staff responsibly for buying timber (directly or indirectly), is responsible for policy compliance. This includes those members of staff whose role dictates that they advise, support or authorise other members of staff to purchase timber.

Other relevant information

Additional information about Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is available from CPET.

Within Natural Resources Wales, please contact Melanie Meaden for further information.

Useful information and free advice is available via the Central Point of Expertise on Timber, a UK Government funded helpline:

Tel: 01305 236100
Email: cpet@efeca.com

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