We have put sustainability at the heart of our forestry policies and practices so that we can realise the full potential of our woodlands as economic, environmental and social resources. Where improvement is required, it is our responsibility to guide and encourage the changes and to ensure these fit with the international commitments we have made on sustainable forest management.
The best way to ensure that your timber comes from a sustainable source, is to use an independently certified supplier, or to persuade your suppliers to obtain certification. Simply asking suppliers whether or not they use certified timber can have an impact.
During 1999 every Forestry Commission woodland in England, Scotland and Wales (around 40% of British forests) was assessed against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) by an independent auditor. As a result, Forestry Commission woodlands now carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp of approval. This makes us the largest supplier of FSC certified round timber in the UK. In recognition of this work, WWF awarded the FC the prestigious ‘Gift to the Earth’ award.
CPET (Central Point of Expertise on Timber) have confirmed through DEFRA that 4 certification schemes demonstrate timber and wood products come from legal and sustainable sources. These are:
- FSC - Forest Stewardship Council
- CSA - Canadian Standards Association
- PEFC - Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes
- SFI - North American Sustainable Forest Initiative
UK Government policy is to treat these four schemes as equivalent when purchasing timber and wood products.