I believe that choosing timber for your project is more about how wood makes you feel than anything else. Wood is nature’s most beautiful, versatile and unique building material; and it’s also the most sustainable as long as it is harvested responsibly. I feel that environmental responsibility is vital, and for this reason Silva Timber go to great lengths to ensure that our timber is sourced only from well-managed forests.

Nick Taylor, Managing Director

In 2015, Silva Timber signed up to the WWF's #SaveForests Campaign, which is setting out to stop forests being erased due to illegal logging and the loopholes that allow this to happen. In joining this scheme, we pledged to:

1. Buy timber and timber products from sustainable sources by 2020, and make our performance public.

2. Support the call for the EU to close the loopholes in the current EU Timber Regulation so that all timber and timber products must be from legal sources.

3. Support the call for the UK government and the EU to complete the transition to a market in sustainable timber and timber products by 2020.

This is only the latest of our efforts to ensure that all our timber is sourced sustainably, and we promise to adhere to these pledges, as well as our Sustainable Timber Purchasing Policy, as described below:

  • Give preference to timber products which carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification or equivalent trademark.
  • Work with FSC, PEFC, WWF and equivalent bodies to promote the use of sustainable timber products
  • Not purchase illegally sourced timber or endangered species.
  • Not purchase timber harvested in forests where high conservation values are threatened by management activities.
  • Not purchase timber harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use.
  • Not purchase timber from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.
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HHow to check the timber is sustainably sourced

With increased demand for sustainably sourced timber comes an increase in the amount of companies stating they are providing sustainably sourced products. Unfortunately there are ways for firms to exploit the system – using FSC paper with the logo on to print invoices, delivery notes etc.

Fortunately there are ways to check that what you are purchasing is sustainably sourced:

  • Companies claiming to sell FSC or PEFC products will have a certificate in place – you can check whether a company is certified here:
    FSC Database | PEFC Database
  • Any products that claim to be FSC or PEFC certified must feature the logo or state the fact next to the relevant product on the delivery note and invoice.

It is possible for products to be sustainably sourced even without the FSC or PEFC certification. There are many other schemes that companies can be a part of – The EUTR (European Directive) and BM TRADA Forest Products Scheme. Companies selling sustainably sourced timber will always be happy to discuss their procurement policies.

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Certifications, what do they guarantee?
Certifications & Responsible buying

There are several things to look out for when purchasing timber. Awareness of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) had risen over the last decade and most timber suppliers will be able to offer certified timber. In instances when purchasing FSC or PEFC certified timber is not possible, there are other ways of ensuring that timber is sourced from responsibly managed forests.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®)
Silva Timber's FSC Certificate number: TT-COC-002296

FSC is a world-wide, independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation representing environmental and social groups and the timber and forestry industry. It aims to generate certification of forestry activity that incorporates clear guidelines and standards covering social, environmental and economic aspects of forest management. Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation, FSC is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide.

The FSC label provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.

The FSC® Chain of Custody (CoC) certification system provides an audit trail from forest to final use. The rigour of the system is ensured by regular independent inspection at all stages in the supply chain. FSC® chain of custody (CoC) tracks FSC® certified material through the production process - from the forest to the consumer, including all successive stages of processing, transformation, manufacturing and distribution.

Only FSC® CoC certified operations are allowed to label products with the FSC® trademarks. The FSC® label thus provides the link between responsible production and consumption and thereby enables the consumer to make socially and environmentally responsible purchasing decisions.

Silva Timber Products meets the requirements for FSC® Chain of Custody Standard FSC - STD - 40 - 004 (2004) within the BM TRADA Certification Limited Scheme for TRADA - Track chain of custody certification


Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™)
Silva Timber's PEFC Certificate number: BMT-PEFC-0319

The PEFC Council is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests. Silva Timber meets the requirements for PEFC Chain of Custody within the BM TRADA Certification Limited Scheme for TRADA - Track chain of custody certification.

Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK)

Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK)

The Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK) assures the legality of timber products imported from Indonesia; in accordance with the Regulation No.995/2010 (Timber Regulation) adopted by the European Union in 2013.

The “Indonesian Legal Wood” certificate provides irrefutable proofs that timber products do not come from illegal sources. All Indonesian timber-related industrial units, primary or secondary will have a legality certificate and are audited independently the National Accreditation Body (Komite Akreditasi Nasional).

For more information click here.

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The truths and myths about deforestation

There’s a common misconception that timber products contribute to deforestation. In reality, as long as timber is sourced from well-managed forests, the trees harvested are replaced with saplings. This means that the forest area will continue to exist for generations. A huge advantage is that the young trees actually grow faster and therefore absorb more CO2, meaning that sustainably managed forests absorb more CO2 without causing or contributing to deforestation - everyone wins.

The key is responsible forest management.

Wood as a building material

Using wood (responsibly) as a building material is in fact better for the environment. Why?

  • It costs less to build energy-efficient buildings in wood
  • Wood from sustainably managed forest has the lowest carbon footprint of any mainstream building material
  • The more wood you use, the lower the carbon footprint of your building
  • Using more timber saves more CO2
  • Wood can make a building carbon neutral - or better
  • Wood has the best thermal insulation properties of any mainstream construction material
Wood vs Steel vs Concrete

How does wood compare with other common building materials such as steel and concrete?

Total Energy Use Lowest 140% more 70% more
Greenhouse Gases Lowest 45% more 81% more
Air Pollution Lowest 42% more 67% more
Water Pollution Lowest 1900% more 90% more
Solid Waste Lowest 36% more 96% more
Ecological Resourse Use Lowest 16% more 97% more

Source: The Athena Sustainable Materials Incentive

Reducing our carbon footprint

There are two ways to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere:

  • Reducing emissions from energy use.

  • Removing CO2 and storing it: reducing 'carbon sources' and increasing 'carbon sinks'.

Wood has the unique ability to do both.

Reducing carbon emissions

Every cubic metre of wood used as a substitute for other building materials reduces CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by an average of 1,1 t CO2. If this is added to the 0,9 t of CO2 stored in wood, each cubic metre of wood saves a total of 2 t CO2. Based on these figures, a 10% increase in the percentage of wooden houses in Europe would produce sufficient CO2 savings to account for about 25% of the reductions prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol.

As the amount of CO2 emitted from combustion is no more than the amount previously stored, burning wood is carbon neutral, a fact well understood by the wood industry which derives up to 75% of the energy it uses to process wood from wood by-products.

Increasing carbon sinks

Each year mankind contributes 7,900 million tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere, of which the carbon sinks absorb 4,600 million tonnes, leading to an annual net increase of 3,300 million tonnes.

This imbalance is so acute that it will not be enough simply to reduce carbon sources, as required by the Kyoto Protocol, carbon sinks will also have to be increased, and one of the simplest ways to increase carbon sinks is to increase the use of wood.

Managed forests are more efficient carbon sinks than forests which are left in a natural state. Younger trees, in vigorous growth, absorb more CO2 than mature trees, which will eventually die and rot, returning their store of CO2 to the atmosphere, while most of the CO2 of the trees harvested from a managed forest continues to be stored throughout the life of the resulting wood product.

Wood products as a carbon store

Wood products, such as Decking, Cladding, Shingles and slatted fencing are carbon stores, rather than carbon sinks, as they do not themselves capture CO2  from the atmosphere. But they take an important part in enhancing the effectiveness of the forest sinks, both by extending the period that the CO2 captured by the forests is kept out of the atmosphere and by encouraging increased forest growth.

According to recent estimates, the average life of wood products varies between 2 months for newspapers and 75 years for structural wood. The longer, the better for the environment, not least because it makes better use of forest resources, but also because it reduces the energy necessary for replacing the products concerned.

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