As COP28 wrapped up in the UAE, there was an announcement on the need to significantly increase the amount of timber in construction globally and commit to using responsibly sourced forest products.
The announcement was made at a COP Presidency event under the auspices of the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership (FCLP), co-chaired by the United States Special Presidential Climate Envoy, John Kerry and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for Ghana, Samuel Jinapor.
A coalition of 17 countries, including the UK, endorsed the statement: “Recognizing that wood from sustainably managed forests provides climate solutions within the construction sector, we commit to, by 2030, advancing policies and approaches that support low carbon construction and increase the use of wood from sustainably managed forests in the built environment. Such policies and approaches will result in reduced GHG emissions, and an increase in stored carbon.”
Post COP28, the UK government has just published its Timber in Construction Roadmap, that sets out a framework for increasing the use of homegrown timber in construction and signals its commitment to taking bolder steps to decarbonise construction.
The Timber in Construction Roadmap outlines how the UK government intends to grow the safe use of timber in construction, while increasing the domestic wood supply and reducing embodied carbon across the built environment. This builds on commitments made in the government’s Net Zero Strategy and England Trees Action Plan.
The policy roadmap outlines priority themes that identify both the opportunities and barriers to timber construction in England, including improving data, promoting timber, boosting skills, and addressing fire safety. The document is the culmination of collaboration between DEFRA and industry including the Structural Timber Association (STA), Timber Development UK (TDUK) and Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor).
John Kirkby, who heads up PEFC in the UK welcomed government commitment to use more wood in construction. Commenting on these welcome initiatives he said “We have always been keen advocates of building with certified sustainable wood, in particular homegrown material. For many years we have sponsored the Best Education Project at the Structural Timber Awards and have developed several CPDs for built environment professionals, which aim to promote the use of certified timber in construction”.
Our next Tomorrow’s Timber Talk, presented by Dr Pablo van der Lugt, will be held on Friday 9th February and next year, we will be focusing on PEFC-certified homegrown timber for the UK construction sector.