Wood, the world’s only truly renewable resource, has been used for an enormous variety of purposes since pre-historic times. However, there are now nearly seven billion people on the planet, making an ever-increasing impact on the natural environment.
The forests which produce timber and wood fibre therefore need careful management, if they are to continue to meet the increasing demands placed upon them, not only by consumers, but also by the communities which depend upon them for their livelihood.
Awareness of the need to protect these valuable resources began with a hard-hitting campaign by environmental groups in the 1970s and ’80s to highlight the plight of the tropical rainforests. This was stepped up by world leaders following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and action groups have kept up the pressure ever since.
Sadly, however, a forest area the size of a football pitch is lost every two seconds, largely because of illegal logging, and many commercial tropical tree species are still at risk of extinction. To combat these problems, various forest certification schemes have been developed and are now playing an increasingly important part in preserving and developing the world’s timber resource.
Forest certification is a two-tier process. At the first level, forests are independently certified to a recognised standard, which involves an inspection of the forest management unit by an independent certification body, to check that the forest management complies with agreed principles. Certified forest operations may then claim that the forest products being produced come from a responsibly managed forest – but before they can sell their products as certified, they must also obtain what is called ‘chain of custody’ certification.
At this second level, operators in the timber supply chain must also seek chain of custody certification to allow them to buy and sell outputs from these forests as certified. Chain of custody means simply the unbroken and traceable path that products take from the forest to the consumer, through all stages of manufacturing, sales and distribution.
Demand for chain of custody certification has grown dramatically in recent years to the extent that, for many companies, the ability to prove that a timber product has been derived from a well-managed source is now a key factor in the specification of timber products. Pressure is coming from all fronts, not least from central Government, which has a very clear strategy on sustainable procurement.
BM TRADA offers chain of custody certification to the FSC scheme, the PEFC scheme and our own Forest Products scheme.
For further information please call our head office on 01494 569700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.