Industry News

Assessing environmental impact with new ISO 14001:2015

Earlier this year the new ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Standard was released in replacement for the previous version ISO 14001:2004.

With more than 300 000 certificates currently issued around the world, ISO is one of the most common standards and a key business tool for many organizations to assess their environmental impact.

The 2015 version includes some key improvements: - A greater commitment from leadership; - An increased alignment with strategic direction; -Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives; - More effective communication, driven through a communications strategy; - Life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end-of-life.

The revision process involved 121 expert members of technical committee ISO/TC 207/SC 1 for environmental development, representing stakeholders from 88 countries. The transition period to switch completely to ISO 14001:2015 has been set to three years.

To help understand the main changes and improvements, Ligna Ltd has created a useful comparison table available here. For further information on the Transition guidance click here

New PEFC video underlines why sustainable forest management matters

PEFC outreach video

PEFC has released a new video underlining the importance of sustainable forest management and the business benefits of using certified material.

Worldwide 1.6 billion of people rely on forests for their subsistence and 2 out of 3 land species live in woodlands.

Certification schemes like PEFC and FSC guarantee that forests and natural commu­nities are being preserved respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and stakeholders' interests.

AHEC launches website to show sustainability of American hardwoods

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has launched a new interactive platform called 'Grown in Seconds' to illustrate the sustainability of American hardwood.

Featuring extensive data gathered by the US Forest Service, the website shows how swiftly wood used for a variety of projects regrows naturally in American forests.

Supported by environmental consultants ThinkStep, AHEC aims to promote a better understanding of the true environmental benefits of using American hardwoods in design and manufacture. 

The platform, alongside the AHEC website, will provide environmentally concerned architects, developers and manufacturers useful information to help them select the most suitable materials for their projects.

In some instances the timber used in construction and design will have taken just seconds to grow such is the wealth of resource available. Examples shown on the site include a spectacular M.C. Esher-inspired staircase that would take just two minutes to replace, a design-savvy shed (a mere 14 seconds), a wooden workspace (five seconds), decking (25 seconds) and even a bespoke pencil sharpener (0.02 seconds).

Find out more on

90% of timber entering the UK is certified, TTF Due Diligence Report shows

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently published its Annual Responsible Sourcing Report.

The report analysed data from 159 companies, covering around 76% of the total volume of timber and logs consumed in the UK in 2014. The top line findings are that little has changed in terms of the exposure to risk the UK faces when it comes to illegal logging, with around 90% of all products certified to FSC/ PEFC.

The level of certified purchases however has regressed slightly as some companies seem to now be using their due diligence systems to mitigate risk ahead of buying certified product.

A positive note is that the proportion of certified timber remained similar to previous years even though the volume of timber reported for 2014 was substantially higher. 

"The work that the TTF and its members have done in this area - renamed in 2014 as the Responsible Purchasing Process - has delivered measurable benefits to Members’ businesses and, by definition, to the timber supply chain", said outgoing TTF Chief Executive David Lennan. "Importantly, it has provided a framework for companies to provide the evidence and data to show that they are increasingly buying from sources that are more formally and at a minimum, legally managed."

Read the Due Diligence Report here.

Spanish Government approves decree to implement EUTR and FLEGT

The Spanish Council of Ministers has recently approved a royal decree aiming to ensure the legality of timber products trade.

The new standards create a framework for the implementation in Spain of two EU regulations: FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) and EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation).

Established in 2003 and based on bilateral agreements between States, FLEGT ensures that wood products entering the EU market come from sustainably managed forests.

On the other hand, EUTR, launched in 2013, aims to tackle illegal logging prohibiting to place illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market. It also forces trade companies and agents to track timber products from the origin evaluating the risk of illegal logging.

Back in October, the European Court of Auditors (the Court) openly underlined delays in the implementation of FLEGT and EUTR in four member countries: Spain, Greece, Romania and Hungary.