Industry News

BMF will support Walking with the Wounded charity

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has chosen Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) as its charity partner for 2016.

Founded in 2010 by two ex-servicemen, Walking with the Wounded supports veterans with physical, mental or social injuries on their journey to long-term security, independence and employment. Crucial to fulfilling this aim is to provide beneficiaries with nationally recognised skills and qualifications post-military service that are relevant to Corporate UK and which will provide the long-term security and independence required for themselves and their families.

“We want to make a real difference, not just in terms of fundraising but also to help provide job opportunities for other veterans supported by the charity through their retraining programme.”, BMF Managing Director John Newcomb commented.

Find out more on BMF website.

Scrapping zero-carbon homes is a false economy

This blog post is by David Hopkins, Executive Director of Wood for Good.

The Government has announced that it will scrap the zero-carbon homes target in an effort to apparently “improve housebuilding productivity.”

The zero-carbon policy was originally introduced as a step to meeting the 2008 Climate Change Act’s mandate of an 80% reduction in CO2 from the 1990 levels, by 2050. The Government has claimed that by scrapping the target it aims to reduce regulations on housebuilding and increase productivity in the sector.

However, removing the policy will not only significantly hinder the UK in meeting wider climate change goals, it is also unlikely to lead to any marked improvement in productivity.

There’s a widely held misconception that creating sustainable homes takes longer and is more expensive. This doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, it’s still quicker and more efficient to manufacture, deliver and assemble a high-quality, low-carbon timber-frame building than build one on-site with lower thermal insulation built from materials which directly contribute to carbon emissions.

Scrapping zero-carbon is a false economy. In terms of future productivity, building significant quantities of homes without sustainability in mind now, sets the UK up for a need for continued and expensive maintenance and repair works for the future.

Take social housing – the growing problem of fuel poverty has driven a need for registered providers to retroactively build sustainability into their property portfolios. Many have implemented solar panels, biomass systems, and external and internal insulation funded by the Green Deal, ECO and vast quantities of their own capital.

If sustainability isn’t factored into new build developments now, it will prolong the need for retrospective action in the long term – creating an extra, ongoing financial burden on an important sector.

There is also obvious financial merit in continuing to create sustainable homes in private house building. Timber’s naturally high thermal insulation also acts as a selling point – lowering the need for future retro insulation measures and making homes more attractive to new owners or renters.

Off-site construction using timber can also reduce build times by weeks and even months, improving the efficiency of the build process, allowing new tenants or owners to move in more quickly, and thereby improving the productivity of the project.

Despite the change in plans, the opportunities to continue to improve sustainability are still very much within in the housebuilding sector’s grasp.

This short-sighted policy should therefore not provide cause for developers to ignore sustainability – especially when you consider the significant inroads the industry has made in improving efficiency in housing over the past decade and the continued market demand for this to be included in new homes.

The Government has only removed the targets at the top. This should not mean we have to accept a spiralling race to the bottom. 

Corrugated Packaging reduces Fast Food waste

"It’s a myth that reducing the packaging will automatically cut the amount of waste from fast food", says the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI). ​According to the CPI, "Companies in the Corrugated Industry have introduced a range of packaging solutions for hot food, specifically designed for takeaways, combining innovative design with fine fluting to make the product easier to handle and consume". 

The idea is underlined by CPI Director of Packaging Affairs, Andy Barnetson: “Corrugated packaging has superb environmental credentials, and this is being recognised by the fast food industry. “Not only does corrugated packaging protect products and prevent spills and leaks, its boxes are designed for heat retention for food on the go. The insulated fluting material keeping it fresher for longer therefore encouraging the consumer to eat all the contents", he adds.

The recyclability of paper packaging is well known – for instance McDonald’s Restaurants reported that during 2013 its eateries worldwide recycled 77% of its cardboard waste.

Read more here.

Proskills launches consultation on new Standards for Paper Manufacturing

Proskills has revised the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Paper Manufacturing and is now colletting users' opinions to determine whether they reflect current best practice. 

All the operators in the sector can join the consultation by downloading the following document or contacting [email protected] until 9:00am, Wednesday 5th August.

The Standards will be used in shaping qualifications, courses and other skills management tools for individuals, companies, trainers and educators.

Illegal logging is still a widespread plague, Clatham House reports

According to the latest Chatham House report, illegal logging still represents an actual threat for the global environment.

In 2013, the volume of illegal timber imports was estimated 60 million m3, almost the level of a decade ago, accounting for 10% of total timber trade. 

The report highlights the effort made by industrialised countries like the UK, France and the Netherlands to tackle uncontrolled deforestation, but at the same it claims how surging demand in China, India, South Korea and Vietnam is driving a resurgence in illicit logging. Just to give an idea, the volume of illegal timber shipped to China, India and Vietnam increased 50% between 2006 and 2013.

Regarding the producing countries, in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) the level of illegal logging is estimated to be over 90%, in Papua New Guinea 70%, in Laos 80%.