Southern Timber Environmental PolicySouthern Timber are suppliers of timber and associated products and we are fully aware of the impact that forestry can have on the environment. However wood is the oldest and most environmentally friendly building product widely available on the market. We recognise that the independent certification of the forests and the production chain is the best means of providing assurance that timber comes from legal and well-managed forests and we purchase certified timber wherever possible. Our belief in wood as an environmentally friendly building material combined with our responsible purchasing policy helps reduce our carbon footprint to carbon neutral or better - for more information on this please go to http://www.fsc.org/.
Our commitment to the environment also means that Southern Timber aim wherever possible to reduce raw material waste, conserves energy and minimises the use of non-renewable raw materials and fuels. We also aim to reduce waste and, as far as possible, recycle waste paper and our own timber waste to produce new products or energy.
During 2008 we extended both our Office and Warehouse spaces. These have been built using mainly timber building materials because of their environmental sustainability. Timber’s high thermal insulation properties also means less heating is required and a further reduction in our energy consumption.
Ten facts on the sustainability of timber
1. Wood is carbon neutral because trees absorb CO2 as they grow. Because of the carbon sink effect of the forests, wood from sustainably managed forests can actually be better than carbon neutral and if enough wood is used a building can be carbon neutral or better!
2. Wood has the lowest embodied energy of any mainstream building material. In comparison to sawn softwood a ton of brick requires four times the amount of energy, concrete five times, glass six times, steel 24 times and aluminium 126 times.
3. Using wood instead of other building materials saves on average 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per cubic metre. Three tonnes of CO2 can be saved by using timber frame from the 20 tonne CO2 footprint of a typical 3 bedroom detached house. Increasing the timber content, including softwood cladding, can reduce the footprint to 2.4 tonnes, a total reduction of 17.6 tonnes CO2.
4. Wood has the best thermal insulation properties of any mainstream construction material, it performs 5 times better than concrete, 10 times better than brick and 350 times better than steel
5. Timber Certification is designed to allow consumers to select timber, and associated products made from timber, from sustainably managed forests. Certification typically includes two main components: certification of sustainability of forest management in the country of origin and product certification, where roundwood and processed timber products are traced through the successive phases of the supply chain.
6. Trees absorb one tonne of carbon dioxide for every cubic metre’s growth and they also produce the oxygen we breathe - almost ¾ tonne of oxygen for every cubic metre’s growth.
7. Europe’s forests are growing by 661,000 hectares every year, that is an area greater than three football pitches every hour of the day and night.
8. Over 97% of the softwood we use comes from European forests and over 84% of the hardwood we use comes from European forests.
9. Europe’s forests provide an important, and growing, carbon sink for carbon dioxide which accounts for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions, this is a significant contribution to mitigating climate change.
10. The most important direct causes of deforestation include logging, the conversion of forested lands for agriculture and cattle-raising, urbanisation, mining and oil exploitation, acid rain and fire. According to the FAO, 90 per cent of deforestation is caused by unsustainable agricultural practices, while logging and plantation forestry play a greater role in forest degradation.