The construction industry came out particularly strongly for its use of timber resources with Travis Perkins, Mace, Saint-Gobain and Carillion all scoring the maximum ‘3 trees’ on the WWF-UK rating.

The report analysed more than 100 businesses to see if they presented transparent information when reporting their use of timber.

Of the 100 companies surveyed, 22 scored ‘3 trees’ and a further 22 scored 2 trees. The construction industry made the most progress, with retailers also scoring well.

However, 74 out of 128 companies scored zero or one tree, suggesting limited or no action being taken to ensure the timber products they sell do not contribute to illegal logging or deforestation. 

Tree diagram

UK-based construction multinational Carillion scored 3 trees for its sustainable wood sourcing. Carillion chief sustainability officer David Picton said: “Carillion is fully committed to the responsible sourcing of timber and proud to achieve the 3 Trees accreditation.  

“Our projects and business units report quarterly on their timber usage, we support the WWF Forest Campaign and we use timber from sources which meet Forest Stewardship Council standards.  

“Timber reporting is embedded in our 2020 Sustainability Leadership Plan, and we are working with our suppliers to encourage them to meet the same standards.”

Customer confidence

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Macmillan Publishers and Marks and Spencer were among the major brands to receive the top ratings from the WWF.

Sainsbury’s head of sustainability and ethical sourcing Stuart Lendrum said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised for the work we do to source timber sustainably. It should give customers the reassurance to shop with confidence.”

The supermarket supplies 93% of its wood from Forest Stewardship Council trees or from other certified or recycled sources.

Business response

Julia Young of WWF-UK’s forest team said: “As with many agricultural products such as meat or eggs it is just as important to know where our timber products are coming from. If we don’t then UK consumers could be contributing to deforestation.

“Some of the companies who didn’t fare so well have engaged with WWF-UK since they were given their scores, to look at how they can improve their policy and communication around sustainable timber.”

Young added that WWF-UK would update its scorecard in the autumn to reflect changes made by businesses. The organisation is calling for the European Commission to expand EU Timber Regulation and pushing the UK Government to establish new incentives for a more sustainable timber industry.

Matt Field

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