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Challenging Stereotypes

Encouraging support of the FLEGT Action Plan & their Climate Conversations Competition, the TTF are striving to challenge stereotypes about tropical timber.

Timber is the world’s leading renewable, low-carbon construction material. The Timber Trade Federation and its members lead the standard of Trusted Timber, demonstrating that responsible procurement is at the heart of a low-carbon future and promoting best practices across the supply chain.

Funded by the UK Government Department for International Development (DfID), the TTF encourages the timber industry to support the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan against illegal logging, and trade with countries integrating these policies through Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs).

FLEGT is the UK and EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade, and thus deforestation, while introducing forest monitoring, auditing, multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement with local communities. This landmark shift in governance and procurement, means that FLEGT licensed timber is a safe, legal, and sustainable form of timber.

For some, encouraging the use and specification of responsibly sourced tropical timber from FLEGT and VPA countries may seem like an oxymoron. Economic constraints in conjunction with decreased presence of forest rangers can often attribute to increased land clearing, as well as a change of land-use to agriculture production. Enabling communities to sustainably manage their forests and benefit economically, environmentally, and socially from doing this, through their countries VPA, is the most promising method to reduce deforestation and illegal logging.

Sustainable forestry and the principle that timber production can ever be sustainable when by definition, it requires trees to be logged comes under the limelight. Rainforest Alliance describe the answer to be based on “balance”. This balance requires steps to be taken to protect the health and longevity of forests while profiting from the production and sale of timber and forest products, which acts as a further incentive to successfully sustainable manage forests.

“Sustainably forested timber is an essential part of the solution to emission reduction needed for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, but tropical forests have been undervalued and forest land cleared for other uses” David Hopkins, TTF CEO.

Launched on the 1st June, the TTF’s Climate Conversations design competition, calls on architects, designers and craftspeople to create ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timbers to form their Conversations about Climate Change exhibition, held at the Building Centre throughout November.

Forests are essential for life on earth, with over 1.6 billion livelihoods depending on them (WWF). They play a critical role in mitigating climate change, acting as a carbon sink and contribute to temperature and weather regulation. However, they are under threat from a vast array of environmental degradation including deforestation, illegal logging, conversion to alternative commodity uses and forest fires.

“The aim of our Climate Conversations competition is to encourage designers and specifiers to respond to this material and to consider how their role as a specifier is vital for implementing change, while creating a platform for urgent climate debates since the postponing of the COP26 talks” says Lucy Bedry, TTF FLEGT Communications Executive. “We want to encourage use and acceptance of FLEGT-licensed timber and timber sourced from VPA countries to foster responsible trade, recognising the place of timber in the climate debate and tropical hardwood material provenance”.

Winning designs will be created from responsibly sourced tropical hardwood from VPA countries engaging with the FLEGT Action Plan, sourced through the Timber Trade Federation members in line with their Responsible Purchasing Policy.

For more information on the TTF’s Climate Conversations competition and to apply, visit.

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