Connecting certified forests to sustainable construction

Connecting certified forests to sustainable construction

The Crown Estate forest in Windsor Great Park was the main location for PEFC UK’s inaugural field trip for the construction sector. Held on 17th May, the visit was designed to show the link between certified forests and sustainable construction. A broad range of delegates from across the construction sector, including representatives from major housebuilders, also visited the Crown Estate biomass plant and PEFC-certified timber merchant, Beaumont Forest Products. Participants were able to learn more about the importance of certification and how the construction sector can support responsible producers and ultimately the world’s woodlands and forests, through their procurement choices.


The field trip, which was the latest event in PEFC’s global marketing campaign ‘Designing the Future with Sustainable Timber’, aimed to demonstrate responsible forest management. It also sought to explain why Chain of Custody certification was important and the value it adds to timber destined for construction use. PEFC’s ‘Designing the Future with Sustainable Timber’ campaign aims to raise awareness of and demand for PEFC-certified timber within the global construction sector. It is highlighting how PEFC’s members are promoting certified timber, especially engineered wood products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) – 60% of CLT in the UK is PEFC-certified – LVL and Glulam. As the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC-certified timber is available from 39 countries.


Participants were able to witness timber harvesting in action while some pre-commercial thinnings were carried out. They were briefed by Crown Estate’s Chief Forester John Deakin, on the steps taken to ensure that Swinley Forest part of the 6,000-hectare Windsor Estate, is sustainably-managed. He also explained how the forest met PEFC’s sustainable forest management criteria on land management, accessibility for recreational users and wildlife and bio-diversity promotion and its long-term tree replanting strategy.


Andy Ferguson, Forest Products Director at Buildbase, led participants around the Beaumont Forest Products facility, to demonstrate how legal and sustainable timber enters the supply chain. Presentations were also given by the Soil Association’s Andy Grundy on forest management auditing and the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. Steve Cook, Willmott Dixon’s Sustainable Development Manager, Director of PEFC UK and Co-chair of Grown in Britain, described the steps being taken to drive growth in responsible sourcing along the construction supply chain.


Architects, designers and those specifying building materials for construction projects are increasingly turning to timber to deliver energy efficient and sustainable buildings. As a result, more and more public and private sector procurement policies are seeking evidence of certified timber and specifying PEFC-certified materials enables contractors to provide such assurances.


PEFC UK’s Executive Director Alun Watkins said: “I’d like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended. Luckily, we had fantastic weather and it was a perfect day to tour the Crown Estate and see and hear more about sustainable forest management (SFM), and the huge amount of work that is involved in keeping the forest healthy for this generation and the next. We tried to demonstrate what PEFC certification involves and how the forest is inextricably linked to the final products on the marketplace”.


PEFC is one of the most commonly recognised global labels for sustainable forest management. Its distinctive ‘two trees’ logo appears on forest products around the world providing assurances of legal and sustainable sourcing.



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