Green claims on timber 'mislead consumers': Susan Watts finds the launch of a wood trade study sparking a row over two rival schemes
Friday 18 March 1994
A three-year study of timber companies had revealed a confusing proliferation of self-appointed logos and certificates, the WWF said. The report, Truth or Trickery? Timber labelling past and future, sparked a row at its London launch as proponents of two rival schemes, both called 'Woodmark', produced plans to certify wood and wood products as coming from sustainable sources.
In a keynote address to the seminar the Prince of Wales gave strong endorsement to one of the schemes, drawn up over the past two years by the Soil Association, an organic farming group. He has asked the association to inspect and certify the Duchy of Cornwall's woodlands near Liskeard. This scheme, which has the WWF's support, will operate under the auspices of the Forest Stewardship Council, an international organisation set up to monitor claims on sustainably-produced timber.
The rival scheme, devised by the Forestry Industry's Committee of Great Britain, a trade body representing the British timber industry, was criticised by the Soil Association as hastily put together for the meeting by an industry fearful of losing its authority. This would certify wood that met British regulations enforced by the Forestry Commission.
However, one retailer said his customers had less confidence in schemes based on government- led standards than in those seen to be truly independent. A representative from B & Q accused the director-general of the Forestry Commission of missing an opportunity to promote British timber by refusing to commit to an independent certification scheme, allowing British wood to compete with imported timber carrying detailed information on its source.
The WWF report said labelling was being used as a public relations exercise by companies aware that consumers will select products displaying environmental claims. The majority of these appear to view sustainability as little more than the production of a sustained yield of timber, ignoring wider social, ecological and environmental effects of timber harvesting.
During yesterday's seminar the WWF was criticised for sending letters to timber companies threatening boycotts of their products. Robin Pellew, director of the WWF, apologised for any heavy-handed approaches and said he looked forward to a spirit of co-operation with the industry.
The WWF report criticised the Timber Trades Federation, representing importers, for its 'continued failure' to play a positive role in solving the labelling problem. It congratulated 24 companies, 'the 1995 Group', committed to phasing out, by December 1995, the sale and use of all wood and wood products that do not come from well-managed forests.
In his speech, Prince Charles confessed to 'an overwhelming sense of despair' over forest loss. He urged consumers to press for wood products from sustainably grown timber, stating that he had asked suppliers to the Royal Household to supply only timber from sources independently certified as sustainable from 1995.
Truth or Trickery? Timber labelling past and future. WWF, Panda House, Weyside Park, Godalming, Surrey GU17 1XR. Tel: 0483 426444.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...