PEFC UK’s annual field trip for construction sector shows link between certified forests and sustainable construction

The Crown Estate forest in Windsor Great Park was the main location for PEFC UK’s annual field trip for the construction sector, designed to show the link between certified forests and sustainable construction.

A range of delegates from across the construction sector participated including representatives from BAM, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Interserve and Crest Nicholson. Participants were able to learn more about the importance of certification and how the construction sector can support responsible producers through their procurement choices and ultimately protect the world’s woodlands and forests.

The field trip was the latest event in PEFC’s global marketing campaign ‘Designing the Future with Sustainable Timber’ and aimed to demonstrate responsible forest management in practice. It also sought to explain why Chain of Custody certification is so important and the value it adds to timber destined for construction use. PEFC’s Designing the Future with Sustainable Timber’ campaign aims to raise awareness of and demand for PEFC-certified timber within the global construction sector. It is highlighting how PEFC’s members are promoting certified timber, especially via engineered wood products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) – 60% of CLT in the UK is PEFC-certified – LVL and glulam. As the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC-certified timber is now available from 40 countries.

During the forest visit, participants were briefed by Crown Estate’s chief forester John Deakin, on the steps taken to ensure that the South Forest section of the 6,000-hectare Windsor Estate, is sustainably managed. He explained how the forest met PEFC’s sustainable forest management criteria on land management, accessibility for recreational users, wildlife and bio-diversity promotion and its long-term tree replanting strategy. Euroforest’s Ben Manterfield and his team were on hand to demonstrate timber harvesting as they carried out some pre-commercial thinning.

The afternoon session, chaired by Steve Cook, Willmott Dixon’s sustainable development manager, included presentations by Soil Association auditor Robin Walters on forest management auditing and the UK Woodland Assurance Standard and Ewa Bazydlo, James Latham’s environmental manager, gave a merchant’s perspective on certified timber. Charlie Law, managing director of Sustainable Construction Solutions, described the steps being taken to drive growth in responsible sourcing along the construction supply chain.

Architects, designers and those specifying building materials for construction projects are increasingly turning to timber to deliver energy efficient and sustainable buildings. As a result, more and more public and private sector procurement policies are seeking evidence of certified timber and specifying PEFC-certified materials enables contractors to provide such assurances.

PEFC UK’s executive director Alun Watkins said: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended. The day provided an opportunity for contractors and developers to learn more about sustainable forest management (SFM), and the huge amount of work that is involved in keeping the forest healthy for this generation and the next. As the majority of both domestic and imported timber goes to the construction sector, it is vitally important that specifiers can be sure that only responsibly sourced timber is used on their sites. Certified timber from a timber certification scheme such as PEFC’s, provides such assurances.”

PEFC is one of the most commonly recognised global labels for sustainable forest management. Its distinctive ‘two trees’ label appears on forest products around the world providing assurances of legal and sustainable sourcing.


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