Letter: Tough on timber

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Sir: PG Harris of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) protests (letter, 7 September) about the lack of credit given to the UK timber industry for improving forest management, and points to its environmental timber purchasing policy as "a practical way of making progress with timber producers". Unfortunately this policy is deeply flawed.

Signatories to the TTF purchasing policy are required to seek documentary evidence of legal and well-managed forest sources. The problem is that this "evidence" usually amounts simply to claims from the logging companies themselves - some of whom have been convicted of illegally felling timber - that they are not involved in illegal or unsustainable logging.

Because of misleading green claims on timber products, Friends of the Earth is encouraging people to buy only timber with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. This is the only effective independent certification scheme.

The UK Timber Trade could have an important role in helping to protect the world's forests, but its flawed purchasing policy is not the answer.


Forest Campaigner

Friends of The Earth

London N1