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Shoppers unaware wood products may be illegally sourced

Published: 9 November 2010
Half of British shoppers have no idea that the paper and wood products they are buying could come from illegal sources, according to new research from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Shoppers unaware wood products may be illegally sourced
The UK is the fourth largest importer of illegally harvested or traded timber and wood products in the world. The amount of illegal timber coming into the country is enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall 32 times, says the charity, and it's used in everything from garden furniture to laminate flooring.

The WWF's campaign 'What Wood You Choose' aims to raise awareness of illegal and unsustainable deforestation, which is responsible for around 15% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the survey, only 28% of those questioned had heard of the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo, which is applied to wood products sourced from well-managed forests according to high environmental and social standards.

WWF-UK head of campaigns Colin Butfield said: "If people buy any wood or paper products that aren't certified then they could, unwittingly, be helping to fuel illegal and unsustainable logging activities across the globe.

"Buying FSC-certified products is the only way to be certain that the interests of the forests, the species that live in them, and the people that rely on them to make a living are being considered."

A new EU law will ban illegal timber and wood products from the European market from 2012. Companies importing timber will have to provide information about the country of origin of the timber they use and its legality.

Many retailers are already working to ensure the timber products they sell are ethically sourced. B&Q claims more than 90% of all its wood products now come from proven well-managed forests or recycled materials. The company recently launched its 'Forest-Friendly' campaign to raise awareness of the importance of only buying products made from or containing wood that has come from sustainable sources.


Published prior to March 2014
By David
Thank you Stephen for getting an element of balance with respect to FSC and PEFC accreditation.The commercial timber importing and timber merchanting/processing trades are actively signing up to the Timber Trades federation Responsible Purchasing Policy which confirms that 95% and more of all their purchases are obtained from sustainable and third party verified legal sources.(Not just FSC )It is sometimes better to promote what is being done rather that what isn't.
Published prior to March 2014
By Stephen
I have been in the timber trade for 30 years and am now head of certification and compliance with a major timber importer. The claim that buying FSC certified wood "is the only way" to be certain about the legality of the wood is manifestly untrue. There are other ways, not least PEFC certification, which are approved by the UK Govermnment as a means to prove legallity AND sustainability. The exclusivity claim for FSC also undermines the EU's "FLEGT" Forest law Enforcement campaign which seeks to encourage exporter countries to verify the legality of their product in compliance of the EU illegal timber ban mentioned in the article. In short, tremendous steps forward have been made in the progress to 100% legality (which I fully support) within and without the high standards of the FSC.
Published prior to March 2014
By Charlotte Gillan (Classic Canes)
As manufacturers, importers and distributors of walking sticks, we are very aware of the importance of ensuring that the wood we use is appropriately sourced. However, until the FSC can raise awareness of the meaning of its mark with the general public (28% public awareness, if it is even as much as that, is far from sufficient) there is little commercial motivation for companies to incur the considerable administrative and commercial costs involved in obtaining and displaying accreditation. A national FSC awareness-raising campaign would be of far greater effectiveness than any number of EU laws.
Charlotte Gillan
Managing Partner
Classic Canes
Published prior to March 2014
By Simon
As a legitimate timber importer it is truly disgusting that there are ANY timber products entering the UK that are not FSC. National Merchants and DIY Stores as well as the independent sector have a DUTY to the PLANET and their CHILDREN to ensure that timber products meet these stringent regulations. All too often the need for personal greed and short term gain to satisfy shareholders gets in the way. Good luck to the new laws, they won't work as there is nobody to enforce them and the country and planet will continue to be sold out.

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