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How Sustainable Is Timber For Your Next Construction Project?

Find out about sustainable timber and how it could be used for your next construction project.


Sustainable timber refers to wood and wood products sourced and harvested in a manner that is environmentally responsible and socially beneficial, while also being economically viable. The British Standard definition of a renewable source is “grown, naturally replenished or cleansed on a human time scale” and whilst a renewable source can become exhausted, it can also last indefinitely if it’s properly stewarded. Using responsibly sourced timber products helps to preserve forests with multiple trees planted for each one that’s harvested – which will produce critical biodiversity benefits. In a nutshell, sustainable timber means preserving global forests while helping to combat climate change – something we’re all pretty passionate about doing! But just how sustainable is timber? How can I be sure I’m getting quality timber if it’s sustainably sourced? And is it as good as unsustainably sourced timber? This blog will get into the nitty-gritty of some of these questions.

What Exactly Does Sustainable Timber Mean?

The concept of sustainability in producing timber is rooted in the idea of meeting the current needs for wood products without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and to support the livelihoods of people who depend on forests. Sustainable timber principles address environmental concerns of deforestation, habitat destruction and climate change.

The key principles of sustainable timber management include:

  • Responsible forest management – this isn’t rocket science – but means selective logging and reforestation where trees have been removed whilst protecting sensitive areas. Careful forest management will make sure ecosystem health, biodiversity and long-term productivity are looked after.
  • Certification – we’ll unpack this one shortly.
  • Reduced waste – making sure as much of the harvested wood as possible is used and minimising any waste produced. This promotes efficient manufacturing processes.
  • Social responsibility – this means considering the well-being of local communities – the rights and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local workers in the industry.
  • Transparency and traceability – being able to verify the origin and sustainability of timber products which helps consumers to make informed and responsible choices and practices.

How Can I Be Sure I’m Getting Quality Timber?

This is where the certification of timber comes into play, meaning you know for sure you’re getting quality timber that is also being sustainably produced. Many sustainable timber products are certified by organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) which is a guarantee the timber comes from responsibly managed forests. All of our timber here at Coventry Timber is FSC or PEFC certified, which means whether you’re just a keen DIY-er, planning to build a pergola in your garden, or a trader in construction about to build several houses, you will be easily able to evidence the source and origin of every piece of timber you buy from us. This level of accountability is perfect for those who need to show a chain of custody and be able to prove the timber is from certified sources.

Is Sustainably Sourced Timber Better Than Unsustainably Sourced?

The strength and quality of our timber is not any better or worse than unsustainably sourced materials. There may be different gradings of timber which is graded according to its strength characteristics with higher grade being stronger and more uniform than lower grade. But sustainably sourced timber is definitely better in terms of the environmental and social impacts of timber production. As sustainable forestry practices promote responsible management it may well result in more consistently high-quality supplies of stronger and more durable wood over time. It also is better for the fact it contributes to helping the planet and combating climate change. Whilst not everyone is a Greta Thunberg or member of Extinction Rebellion lying in the middle of the M25, it would be true to say everyone who has access to news of the world must be concerned about how they can do their bit for Mother Earth. Buying sustainably sourced timber, as a builder or constructor is doing your bit for the greater good and the added by-product is likely to be a boost in reputation for your company. By choosing Coventry Timber to be your timber supplier, you’ll be able to confidently advertise you always use sustainably sourced, certified timber.


Are There Other Options for Sustainably Sourced Timber Also Suitable for Building?

Whilst timber is one of the oldest construction materials, apart from the rocks the cavemen lived in, there are new forms of timber which are also strong and perfectly suitable for use in construction without compromising on build quality or creating masses of greenhouse emissions. According to a UN report, the production of construction materials such as steel, cement and glass makes up 10% of global energy-related CO2 emissions whereas man-made cross-laminated timber, MDF and OSB3 can be used in construction to replace concrete or other products. While concrete may be essential for foundations, as mass-timber products are lighter, the foundations can be smaller. Also, these mass-timber products can be produced in a factory and are light to transport meaning faster construction and less disruption for the community. A great example of this is the Mjǿstårnet building in Norway. Coventry Timber is pleased to offer MDF and OSB3 sheets made from reconstituted wood products – the ultimate in recycling timber.

How Else is Timber Sustainable?

Another reason to use sustainably sourced or man-made timber products is the sheer recyclability of wood. While some metals, such as steel and aluminium, can be melted down to be reprocessed into an identical product, timber can’t usually be recycled into the same product. However, wood is extremely recyclable by reusing or repurposing into lower-grade products such as particleboard, animal bedding, soil mulches and biomass for energy production amongst many other products.

Trust Coventry Timber for Truly Sustainable Wooden Products for your Next Construction Project

Whilst some companies ‘greenwash’ their products – making exaggerations or false claims their products or operations are environmentally friendly or sustainable when, in reality, they’re not – Coventry Timber is not amongst their number. At Coventry Timber, we know if we kill our planet and plunder its forests for short-term gain, we’ll be paying for it for generations to come. This is why we are proud to say all of our timber comes with FSC or PEFC timber certification. We know working with certified suppliers means the whole way along the chain responsible practices have been adhered to, proper training given, safety considered and fair wages paid.

So, in answer to the question posed by this blog, timber is perfectly sustainable and a suitable material to use for your next construction project whatever the size or scope. Why not get in touch with a member of our expert team to discuss your project and what type or size of timber you need, so you can get on with constructing your new garden design, your garden studio or building those houses?

For more information on How Sustainable Is Timber For Your Next Construction Project? talk to Coventry Timber Products Ltd

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