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Timber Trade Federation launches ‘Conversations About Climate Change’

The UK Timber Trade Federation announce the start of their ‘Conversations about Climate Change’ Design Competition, in collaboration with the Building Centre. 

Conversations about Climate Change is a specially commissioned design competition, exhibition, and events series providing a platform for urgent climate debates. The Timber Trade Federation, in association with the Building Centre, will showcase winning designs in tropical timbers from sustainable sources to demonstrate the importance of this natural resource.

2020: ‘Super Year’ for climate conversations

2020 had been designated a super year for climate conversations with COP26 scheduled to take place in November. Now postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the battle against climate change remains an urgent threat to humanity.

Conversations about Climate Change is a design competition that sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber.

UK & EU combats illegal logging

Responsibly forested timber is an essential solution to the emission reduction needed for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. Timber is a low carbon material, with forests acting as the ‘lungs of the earth’, extracting CO2, regulating the earth’s temperature, and providing biodiverse ecosystems. However, tropical forests have often been undervalued and cleared for agricultural development, rather than sustainable forest management.

Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is the EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade and deforestation, and instead introduce forest monitoring, auditing, multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement with local communities. This landmark shift in governance and procurement means FLEGT licensed timber is a safe, legal and responsible form of timber which will help keep forests standing.

“We want more countries to engage in these Governance reforms and start producing FLEGT licenced timber”, David Hopkins, Timber Trade Federation CEO and FLEGT Project lead. “Engaging designers and creating high value markets is one way to do this”. Conversations about Climate Change sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber.

The Competition: stimulate climate conversations

We want designers to respond to this material and to consider how their role as a specifier is vital for implementing change. The ‘conversation pieces’ could be furniture, sculpture, a model or functional design object – anything, as long as it stimulates a conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate, drawing inspiration from the palette of tropical hardwood species selected.

Six winners will be chosen by an expert judging panel to be fabricated for the show. All winners will be provided with sustainably sourced FLEGT tropical hardwood and a £1000 maker’s bursary. The winning designs will be created using tropical hardwood species from the fifteen countries engaging with the FLEGT Action Plan, through the Timber Trade Federation members.

Full details on how to enter and resources can be found here. The competition is open and closes on the 24th of August.

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