News & Events

EFI study analyses contribution of wood products to climate change mitigation

A new science-policy report from the European Forest Institute (EFI) demonstrates that using wood-based products to substitute greenhouse gas intensive-materials can have important climate benefits.

The authors reviewed 51 existing studies to provide an up-to-date synthesis of scientific knowledge on the greenhouse gas emissions of products made from wood and from alternative materials, over their entire lifetime.

While the positive role of forests in climate change mitigation is generally well perceived, the contribution of wood products to mitigation is much less known and understood. Current reporting on greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and related processes does not attribute the substitution benefits of wood-based products directly to the forest sector. However, this information is important when developing optimal strategies on how forests and the forest sector can maximise their contribution to climate change mitigation. 

The study concludes that for each ton of C in wood products that substitute non-wood products, average emissions are reduced by approximately 1.2 ton C. Expressed in a different unit, this corresponds to about 2.2 ton of CO2 emissions reduction per ton of wood product. The substitution effects vary significantly, depending on the wood product and technology that is considered and the methods used to estimate emissions.

The study coordinator, Pekka Leskinen, said: “It is also crucial to remember that the greenhouse gas substitution impact of wood products is only one component in climate change mitigation. The substitution factor alone should not form the basis of policies, since the overall climate impacts of forests depend also on forest carbon sinks, forest soil and carbon stored in wood products.”

The study also identifies limitations and important research gaps that should be covered to have a better understanding of the substitution effects – for example there is a lack of knowledge on the climate impacts of emerging wood-based products like textiles and biochemicals.

Download the study here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/efi-study-analyses-contribution-wood-products-climate-change-mitigation]

CTI Blog - The Case for Wood

This blog post is by CTI Director and TTF MD David Hopkins.

 

Making the case for wood to an audience of architects, designers and manufacturers at the recent Wood Awards in London, David Hopkins, CTI Director and Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), left nobody in doubt as to the importance of wood as the key construction material for many reasons:

“The Wood Awards provides a clear picture, a clear distillation of many of the central arguments for the use of wood across multiple markets – particularly around sustainability, around skills and skilled jobs, around innovation, and around housing.

"First is the environment and sustainability. We face multiple issues around the theme of climate change. Not least is the disappearance of forest landscapes around the world. The basic fact is: if we want to keep forests, we have to increase demand for forests. To do that, we need to increase the use of the products from forests and increase their basic value.

“I was a speaker recently at the tropical timber conference in Paris. At this conference there was an illuminating set of satellite images showing deforestation in several tropical countries. They showed forest cover in the 1980s and then forest cover in 2017. It was depressing. Huge tracts disappeared, gone. But, what was interesting is that most of the areas that had been felled were “protected areas” – conservation areas, national parks, wildlife refuges and so on. The areas that were still standing, that showed unbroken canopies and the greatest forest cover were those with commercial licences and a management plan for timber harvesting. Those that massively increase the value of the trees that are standing and can therefore provide more money to those people that depend on them. It seems counter intuitive, but those areas with commercial licences had more trees, more wildlife and more biodiversity than those areas which were supposedly protected. The people could appreciate the value more.

“At a European level, we have one of the most intense forestry sectors in the world – roughly 5% of forest cover and about 25% of all industrial production. And because of that demand, our forests are growing. We use something like 65% of the annual growth each year, with large swathes untouched. It provides a massive carbon sink, ecosystem services, water services, biodiversity and the basis for a thriving bio-economy. But, it only works because of demand for the product. Demand for responsibly sourced wood means demand for responsibly managed forests and forest growth.

“When you move that on, you see you’re not just dealing with a low carbon material, but that then this becomes the basis of very low energy, low-carbon manufacturing. All of the products and entries you see at the Wood Awards will have been made in a manufacturing outlet, whether it is a ‘furniture factory’ or a ‘housing factory’. Yet to manufacture these items from wood requires far less energy and therefore has a far lower carbon footprint than any other competing material. If we want to have our low-carbon revolution, we need low-carbon materials and low-carbon manufacturing. Timber helps us achieve both.

“The timber sector affords a lot of career pathways in multiple directions. As trade bodies we want to see a great expansion in the downstream timber manufacturing sector – in furniture, joinery, timber frame and housing – but this will never happen without skilled workers.  So our thanks and support go to the Carpenters Company and the Building Crafts College – and other centres like these throughout the UK – for without these skilled students coming through we don’t have a future.

“Finally, the Wood Awards highlight the way in which timber can help solve the housing crisis in the UK. Timber frame is the fastest growing method of housebuilding now in the UK, accounting for about 28% of all new build last year. So, my appreciation of the awards is not just for its integrity and commitment to aesthetics, beauty and craftsmanship, but for me the aesthetics of the final entries comes as the icing on the cake. It is the result of growing forests around the world, adding more to nature than you are taking away, of creating and valuing skilled jobs, developing a high-value, low-carbon innovative manufacturing sector and, through all of that, creating objects and buildings of beauty and making the world a generally better, healthier, more sustainable and beautiful place to live. 

“And that certainly deserves an Award!”

The full list of the awarded projects – including photos and technical info – is available here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/cti-blog-case-wood]

Government consultation confirms the suitability of timber cladding for all building types below 18m in height

The outcome of the government’s in depth assessment of the use of different cladding materials in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy has confirmed that timber, where necessary enhanced with flame retardant (depending on aspect), remains fit for purpose and compliant with amended Building Regulations (in England), where the upper floor level of a building is less than 18m above ground, so enabling the market for this safe, environmentally positive, versatile and attractive cladding material to continue to grow.

This is the approach that Wood Protection Association (WPA) and the Confederation of Timber Industries lobbied for throughout the consultation period and we are pleased to see government has listened to our industry’s views. Buildings where the upper floor level exceeds 18m above external ground level – which do not represent a significant market for timber cladding - pose special design challenges and the decision to make non-combustible external cladding mandatory for this category was anticipated as a sensible design precaution in the wake of the lessons learnt from Grenfell Tower. The use of timber doors, door frames and windows in external walls on buildings over 18m continues to be approved.

Timber continues to be approved as a suitable material for external cladding under Building Regulations below 18m and where these regulations call for enhanced fire performance, tried and tested flame-retardant treatment processes are available to provide it. The fire performance of wood is well understood and years of experience in the use of timber cladding on all types of buildings combined with rigorous fire test requirements in BS and EN Standards has enhanced this understanding.

The reaction to fire properties of most wood-based materials can be enhanced by the application of flame retardants under factory-controlled conditions. WPA operates three complementary, independent quality schemes to verify flame retardant enhanced timber products have been manufactured appropriately for their intended end use under the WPA Benchmark FR banner.

Full technical details of these recent amendments to Building Regulations can be found in the new WPA FR Factsheet 5 “External Timber Cladding: Guidance to Amended Building Regulations December 2018”, available now free to download here.

Read also: Combustible Materials Response, Implications for Timber Industry

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/government-consultation-confirms-suitability-timber-cladding-all-building-types-below-18m]

Fair&Precious, the collective label for legal and eco-certified African timber celebrates its first anniversary

To mark the first anniversary of the international Fair&Precious label, created by the ATIBT (International Tropical Timber Technical Association) whose mission is to promote the development of a sustainable, ethical and legal tropical timber sector, the time has come to take stock of the label's missions and to open up new perspectives.

Created in November 2017, the Fair & Precious collective label aims to persuade European consumers to purchase products that use ecological and responsibly-sourced materials. By allowing the final consumer to clearly identify African timber and guaranteeing that it does not come from illegal distributors but from logging producers that are managed sustainably and responsibly, Fair&Precious has become a real landmark.

"Whether promoters or prescribers of the label, F&P members believe in the emergence of a more humane economy, protecting both humans and nature in a relocated economy," explains ATIBT spokesperson. "Beyond the environmental dimension of its commitment, F&P puts all its energy into defending social and societal causes such as respect for local populations, their education and their health."

In order for a forest concession holder to benefit from the Fair&Precious label, they must both be a member of ATIBT and use a control procedure approved by the ATIBT Board of Directors, such as FSC or PEFC sustainable forest management certification. These labels are controlled by certification bodies such as Bureau Veritas and are there to guarantee the application of strict rules to ensure the traceability of the material from the forest to the finished product.

"In 2016, only 30%* of the products made in the European Union with tropical wood were certified as being produced in a sustainable way. If the Netherlands (63% in 2016), the United Kingdom (49%), Germany (20%), France (12%), Belgium (12%), Italy (5%) and Spain (4%) committed to a 100% Fair&Precious target, this would represent 85.6% of all EU purchases and especially 5.3 million additional protected hectares," underlines ATIBT.

Benoit Jobbé Duval, Director of ATIBT commented: "We are very proud to have brought together so many prestigious partners around our project, all of whom are fighting the same battle, to guarantee the future of tropical forests, to participate in their sustainable management and above all to make citizens aware of their missions and their importance.”

Fair&Precious' 10 commitments through its manifesto

  • Manage and protect forests to combat climate change
  • Preserve forest resources by harvesting less than naturally grows
  • Develop knowledge on biodiversity to facilitate the restocking of species
  • Ensure the maintenance of the wildlife's living space
  • Implement programmes to combat environmental crime against fauna and flora
  • Contribute to the well-being of populations by facilitating their access to education, health care and housing
  • Stimulate the economies of producing countries by enhancing the value of forests and promoting local wood processing
  • Set up training courses in forestry and woodworking professions
  • Provide technical knowledge on the diversity of tropical species and their uses
  • Promote the responsible purchase of an exceptional material

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fairprecious-collective-label-legal-and-eco-certified-african-timber-celebrates-its-first]

World Experts drawn to Oxford for Global Forestry Conference on 10-11 April 2019

Duncan Pollard MICFor from Nestlé, sustainability expert, will address the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ (ICF) annual flagship two-day conference. 

The UK’s Role in Global Forestry – Past, present and future will be held on 10-11 April 2019 at the Examination Schools in Oxford. Forests are increasingly being relied upon to provide a sustainable future for the planet. The UK has a remarkable influence on the global forestry stage and, with its National Conference in 2019, the Institute is once again leading the way in preparing the forestry profession for the future.

International Union of Forest Research Organisations’ (IUFRO) Executive Director Alexander Buck joins Session 4, “Delivering Global Environmental Services from Forests”. Mr Buck is an expert on international forestry, environment and resource policy. He will explore how forests, science and people interconnect on an international scale. On day two, Environmentalist Tony Juniper, Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK, will address Session 5 in a lecture entitled “Do Professional Foresters Matter?” exploring how foresters are viewed by those working in sustainability.

Other speakers include:

  • Rachel Butler, Executive Director, Global Timber Forum, UK
  • Rob de Fégley, President, Institute of Foresters, Australia
  • Professor Colin Galbraith, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Consultancy, UK
  • Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor & President of James Cook University, Australia
  • Steve Jennings, Partner, 3Keel, UK
  • Luis Nevis Silva, New Generations Plantations Project Leader, WWF, Portugal
  • Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow at World Resources Institute; co-author of “Why Forests, Why Now”, USA
  • Georges Bazongo, Director West Africa, TREE AID, Burkina Faso
  • Berry Wiersum, CEO, Sappi Europe
  • Dr Anna Lawrence MICFor, Forestry and Arboriculture Research Consultant, UK
  • Robert Matthews, Forest Research, UK

Commenting on the significance of the UK’s Role in Global Forestry, conference Chair Geraint Richards MVO MICFor, Head Forester at Duchy of Cornwall Woodlands, said: “The ICF’s 2019 national conference will provide a timely opportunity to consider the importance of the UK’s role in global forestry. Next year marks the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act and, whilst touching on the past, the conference’s exciting array of international speakers will highlight the significance of the UK forestry sector today and going forward.” 

Early Bird Ticket discounts end 31 December 2018 at: www.charteredforesters.org/ukglobalforestry

View more events on the CTI Industry Calendar.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/world-experts-drawn-oxford-global-forestry-conference-10-11-april-2019]

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