TTF Press Releases

Timber Development UK advises members to cease trading with Russia and Belarus

The war in Ukraine has rightly focused hearts and minds over the past two weeks, as people all over the world look for ways to express solidarity with and support for the people of Ukraine. From a political view, one of the chief tools to do this has been via trade sanctions against Russia and Belarus. These have been swift and wide ranging. The financial sanctions from multiple Governments to exclude many Russian banks from the international SWIFT payment system has effectively shut a lot of firms out of international trade as payments cannot be made or received; the UK Government has requested British ports to refuse entry for Russian owned or registered vessels; the EU has imposed trade sanctions on Belarus covering multiple commodities including timber; and the US Govt is considering a trade embargo on Russian oil exports. All of these sanctions are already affecting the trade in timber and timber products. Indeed, many members have already released statements that they are ceasing trade with Belarus and Russia, and, most recently, PEFC stated that they are reclassifying Russian and Belarussian products as “Conflict Timber” and thus ineligible for certification. In line with these sanctions, and in support of the positions taken by members already, we are now advising all members of Timber Development UK to cease trading with Russia and Belarus if they have not done so already. We do of course realise that for some this will not be easy. But, right now the risks, financially and reputationally, are extremely high. NGOs are already calling for a total ban on timber trade with the two countries and many firms will not want ‘conflict’ timber in their inventories or buildings. This week I chaired a meeting for members of the European Sawmilling Organisation (EOS) and CEI Bois, the main European organization for the timber and woodworking industries. In it there was unanimous support for the trade sanctions against Belarus and an expectation that these would soon be matched by equal measures against Russia. This will of course cause huge disruption to timber supplies into Europe and to the UK market. While direct imports into the UK are relatively small, Russia and Belarus account for about 10% of the softwood market in Europe. Removing this will make the available supply even tighter, causing potential shortages in some product areas.Today we have released a trade note for our members looking into the impacts we expect in the UK. We will update this as the situation develops.A debate in the European industry meeting this week concerned mitigation and support measures that the industry could ask for from the Commission and national governments to alleviate the shortages expected. This debate is ongoing. But, one thing is for sure: we cannot ask for support unless we are also prepared to make some small sacrifice ourselves. Ceasing trade during an illegal invasion seems a small price to pay compared to the horrors being experienced by the Ukrainian people.

Timber Development UK News

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As we enter International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March, it is a good reminder to all in the built environment sector that we must do more to strengthen diversity.Women make up only 16% of the construction workforce. This is a major contributor to our skills crisis, so it is critical we work together to entice more women (and BAME) into the industry.

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Wood Awards | Wooden Roof

Tsuruta Architects was faced with a construction challenge when developing the design of this airy London conservatory. A traditional conservatory features a pitched roof, enabling efficient water-shedding, but because their project was attached to a Grade 2-listed home, the architects had to give the roof a much shallower profile to avoid it overshooting the height of an adjacent boundary wall.The result is an exceedingly elegant solution to a tricky set of restraints. To ensure that the roof’s shallow elevation could still drain efficiently, Tsuruta Architects created a series of higher pitches that direct rain water toward a longer and gently-sloping primary gutter. These pitches are composed of a wooden diagrid frame whose beams are fixed without glue or mechanical fixings.Read more on Wooden Roof, Winner of Small Projects award in 2020 here

Trade Note: Impact of trade restrictions on Russia and Belarus

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has, rightly, dominated headlines and debates recently. The rest of the world has been fairly quick to react and an unprecedented number of sanctions have been placed on Russia and Russian trade which will have considerable impact on global timber supply.This trade note looks at the impact of sanctions on the trade of Russian wood and wood products, and the responses from governments, NGOs and the private sector to the crisis.

Read the full policy note on the TTF website. Note this document is restricted to TTF members.

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