Industry News

Global hardwood chips prices reach record low

The prices for globally traded hardwood chips fell to a record low in May 2016, while softwood chip prices reached the highest level in seven months, according to the latest FOEX Chip Price Indexes and Wood Resources International.

Global trade of hardwood chips have trended upward for six years and totaled almost 24 million tons in 2015. 

The FOEX softwood chip price index (PIX-SCG) has also fallen from a peak almost five years ago, but the price decline has been less dramatic than that of hardwood chips.

A majority of global softwood chip trade is in Europe, as opposed to the hardwood chip trade, which is concentrated to Asia.


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Ghana and Indonesia close to get FLEGT green light, new study says

Ghana and Indonesia are almost ready to issue FLEGT licences to exports of verified legal timber products bound for the EU, says a new joined study by the University of Florida and University of Amsterdam.

The research authors, Christine Overdevest of the University of Florida and Jonathan Zeitlin of the University of Amsterdam, underline that, even before the start of FLEGT licensing, VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) implementation has led to “substantially increased participation by civil society and other stakeholders in forest governance, greater transparency and accountability of forestry administration, and heightened recognition of community rights”.

As reported by, the benefits of VPA implementation to date include:

  • Support to small-scale producers: In both countries, the VPA process has focused attention on protecting the needs and livelihoods of small producers in the transition to the new timber legality regime – in Ghana through the domestic market policy and in Indonesia through subsidised group certification.
  • Improved capacity and control: The authors note that Ghana’s VPA timber legality assurance system has begun to transform the practice of the Forestry Commission, “enhancing its capacity for sustainable forest management through accelerated updating of plans and species maps, as well as for regulatory enforcement through the use of audit reports to detect and correct operational problems, including non-compliance with Social Responsibility Agreements.”
  • Closing doors to corruption: In both countries, the VPAs have helped improve administrative oversight in forest governance, including by curtailing the discretionary awards of concessions and harvesting permits, and have created new mechanisms for exposing corruption across the supply chain.

Zeitlin and Overdevest say the VPAs have gone far beyond their central aim of ensuring the legality of timber. In both countries, VPA processes have proven to be “remarkably incisive” frameworks for exposing and addressing broader issues through multistakeholder dialogue.

  • In Ghana, such issues include regulation of administrative permitting, payment of Timber Rights Fees by large concession holders, observance of Social Rights Agreements with local communities, and the construction of a legal small-scale milling sector to supply the domestic market.
  • In Indonesia, major issues addressed through the VPA process include integrated land use planning, reducing corruption in public administration and permit allocation, and recognition of indigenous peoples’ customary rights.

The researchers say the joint committees of EU and national representatives overseeing VPA implementation, with multistakeholder bodies reporting to them, have played crucial roles in addressing such issues by serving as “robust platforms for accountability, collective learning, and consensus formation”.

Overdevest and Zeitlin also highlight the ways VPAs have empowered civil society groups to expose gaps in VPA implementation, hold public authorities accountable for redressing them, and collaborate in developing mutually acceptable solutions.

“Civil society groups in turn have made an indispensable contribution to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the VPAs in both countries by feeding independent local knowledge about their on-the-ground operation into the joint review process with the EU on the one hand, while building domestic public and community support for their objectives on the other.”


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BMJ / BMF Young Achiever Award: Call for entries to close in few days

Entries for BMJ / BMF Young Achiever Award will close on Monday 1 August 2016.

The award was launched by the Builders Merchants Journal (BMJ) along with the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in 2013 to recognise and encourage the achievements of younger members of staff within merchanting.

Sponsored by SCA Timber and Bostik, the award was joined in 2014 by the Young Supplier Achiever Award to recognise that suppliers play a huge part in the success of a business relationship. 

The winner will receive a cheque for £2,500 and trip to Sweden, courtesy of SCA Timber, the runner-up an iPad, courtesy of Bostik. 

To download the entry form click here.


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FERN vs European Commission’s forest proposal: 'It weakens Paris climate commitment'

The environmental NGO Fern has raised the alarm over the new EU proposals for tackling emissions from land and forests.

According to Fern, the scheme recently outlined by the European Commission for integrating emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) into its climate and energy package will allow Member States to emit more, bringing the EU’s headline ‘at least 40 per cent’ reduction target down to less than 39 per cent, when all loopholes are accounted for.

“Forests and land in the EU currently absorb more carbon than they emit, which is a good thing. But using this as an excuse to emit more greenhouse gases sends the wrong message,” says Hannah Mowat, Forest and Climate campaigner at Fern, the forest and rights organisation.

“Our carbon budget is rapidly diminishing – we already know we need to go below zero emissions in the medium term. That is where forests can potentially help us; not in delaying the path to zero, as the Commission’s proposal suggests. The European Commission has missed an opportunity to embrace the role that forests and land can, and must, play to honour the commitments made in Paris and limit warming to 1.5 degrees."

Ms Mowat concluded: "Work must now begin on making the new LULUCF pillar into a powerful instrument with high environmental integrity to ensure that forests and land are part of the climate solution, not part of the problem.”


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BSRIA Chief on Brexit aftermath: "Construction Industry to remain confident and optimistic'

One month after the EU referendum, the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has launched a positive message to members and stakeholders saying the construction industry should remain confident and optimistic about the opportunities out there for existing and new industry projects.

Nonetheless, BSRIA will be offering extra service to members to help them tackle the new political and economical scenario.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, commented: “Now that the dust has settled from the Brexit decision – for BSRIA it is definitely business as usual – we are where we are. There are opportunities out there for our members to garner new work and deals – we all just need to find them.

Against a backdrop of political and ‘economic spaghetti’ BSRIA can lead and support its members into a bright new future. It is a brave new world. We appreciate there is certainly political turmoil, noise and volatility in Westminster – but BSRIA needs to join in this debate."

Ms Evans added: "As an industry – we must now start to shape future policy. Indeed it is a chance to revise industry regulations and to renegotiate the framework for the future and find new trade rules.

We need to protect what has already been invested in and make the most of our assets, especially investments and buildings. And ensure that investors have confidence in our industry.

I was especially encouraged to learn that government ministers have begun efforts to reassure industry leaders that housing and infrastructure spending will not drop and in fact both will become ‘more important, not less’ after Brexit. The Mayor of London has also announced to boost housing.”

Industry cannot afford any period of parliamentary inaction and uncertainty on non-EU related issues, whether two years or more in length, and BSRIA seeks urgent reassurance from government that this will not be the case."


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