In choosing a carpenter, most people consider ‘will this person do a good job’, but not ‘will this carpenter be fuelling the illegal trade in timber’.
The United Nations declared 2011 to be the ‘International Year of Forests’ and presented some eye-opening figures. 31% of the world’s land is made up of forest. Our forests contain 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Over 300 million people live in forests and the livelihoods of 1.6 billion of the poorest people depend on forests.
Problem of illegal timber
The illegal trade in timber therefore has a huge ecological and social impact. Research from Chatham House in 2006 showed that the trade causes serious environmental damage; it promotes corruption, funds armed conflict, and retards sustainable development in some of the poorest countries of the world.
In 2008, the WWF published a study into the extent of illegal logging. It argued that the existing European Union (EU) and British licensing scheme was ineffective in stopping the trade in illegal wood, and showed that about 90 percent of illegal timer will still enter the EU markets.
Preventing illegal trade
What can you do to help stop the problem? One way is to only buy wood and paper products from responsibly managed forests (search). Another way is to make sure that you employ carpenters who do the same.
At Oliver Gibbs Carpentry & Joinery we only buy timber that is certified by organisations like the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC guarantees that trees are harvested legally and are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. They also ensure that local labour is used in the logging trade.
By using ethical carpenters and joiners like us, you can ensure that you get great wooden products for your home that didn’t cost someone theirs.