The journey began when we became a founding partner of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) in the early 1990's, when our then CEO was asked 'Do you care and know where your timber comes from?'. The answer to this was yes we care but no we don't know where it comes from. This prompted us to find out exactly where our timber was coming from and to ensure that it was all responsibly sourced from well managed forests.
Over the past two decades we have consistently improved our timber credentials and were proud to have been awarded one of the largest chains of custody certifications under both the FSC and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) schemes in the world. We're now so committed to helping more forests achieve credible forest certification that we also works with organisations like The Forest Trust to help producers achieve FSC certification.
The aim of our Forest Friendly campaign is to highlight the importance for people to check the sustainability credentials of timber before they buy, to help preserve endangered species and habitats and to ensure local communities are prosperous and protected. It is vital for biodiversity that forests are made commercially viable and for local communities as this means that those communities will protect their forests for future generations. If forests are not commercially viable, local people will be tempted to clear them to make way for other businesses that do deliver a profit like cattle ranching or palm oil production.
Since 1991, we first embarked on research into our timber supply chains to find out about the forest management standards in the supply chain and drafted the first policy, we have developed and implemented ever more demanding targets.
Also in 1991 WWF UK established the WWF 1995 Group of Companies, now known as WWF GFTN-UK, which was an innovative partnership between WWF and organisations in the UK that where committed to purchasing increasing volumes of their timber and paper products from credible, independently certified forest sources. Founding group members included us and other household retailers. The GFTN has proved to be very powerful in bringing about changes in forestry and forest product sourcing worldwide and the long term partnership between B&Q and WWF's has provided us with expert technical support and information to enable us to eradicate unknown timber from our supply chain.
Well managed timber is a concern at the heart of our customers. When surveyed 92 per cent said that they would choose responsibly sourced wood every time if they knew there was no extra cost and this is exactly what we have delivered.
From garden furniture to kitchens, over 16,000 of our products contain wood - either as timber or as a wood derivative, and we're now committed to only buying products that are traceable to sources that have met legal, social and environmental standards that have been independently verified. We are continuing to work together with suppliers and independent regulators to ensure full transparency with the timber policy. The policy applies to all timber derived products from the products obviously derived from trees like sawn timber, wallpaper, flooring, doors, furniture, hand tools, books, decking, fencing, firewood, sheds, paint brushes, windows, garden furniture, plywood to those where the wood is hidden like mirror backs, garden tools and even baths.
As the first major UK retailer to achieve this we feel that the pressure will now be on for other retailers to follow suit and achieve 100 per cent certification on all timber products. It's been a long journey, but it was worth it.