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By completing the gold pledge, Brighton have put in place systems and processes to ensure that they are only purchasing legal and sustainable timber products across all their departments. And in a recent WWF report on all 433 UK local authorities' timber procurement policies, Brighton was one of 16 that achieved the highest score. To date, 96 local authorities have already made a sustainable timber pledge.

Brighton & Hove City Council Leader Jason Kitcat, said: One of our top priorities is to create a more sustainable city and be one of the best performing councils in England in this regard. When we signed up to the WWF Gold pledge we knew we were aiming high, but we were confident that we could achieve best practice for procurement of timber and wood-derived products.

"By becoming one of only two local authorities in the country to gain the WWF's Gold standard, we are proud to be leading the way in safeguarding sustainable forestry and combating illegal logging, and so protecting our environment for future generations."

David Norman, director of external affairs at WWF-UK, added: "It is great news that Brighton and Hove City Council has completed the gold pledge. By gaining the highest score in our recent report and completing their pledge, they have already shown they are taking steps to make sure that everything they buy that derives from wood is not harming species and people in parts of the world where illegal logging is devastating the environment."

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: " I am proud that Brighton and Hove City Council is one of the two councils that have been awarded the WWF UK gold pledge certificate. Local authorities are especially important as it is estimated that the public sector is responsible for purchasing around 20% of all timber products sold in the UK.

"I encourage other councils to follow the lead shown by both Durham County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council by engaging with WWF-UK's Gold Pledge to ensure all the wood and timber products purchased are from legally felled timber within well managed forests. I would also urge the Government to keep their promise to usher in the robust legislation we need to take illegally logged timber off the market for good. "

Currently, the UK is the third highest importer of products made from illegal timber in Europe after Germany and Italy. This is the equivalent to fill just over 15 Royal Albert Halls. But from March this year, the EU Timber Regulation will ban illegally harvested timber and timber products from the UK.

Despite the upcoming introduction of legislation to halt the import of illegally sourced wood products, more than half of local authorities don't have a legal and sustainable timber procurement policy WWF research shows that local authorities that don't know where timber they use for doors, flooring and even paper comes from could be supporting the illegal and unsustainable timber trade.

Illegally logged wood threatens not only rainforests but also communities and species, including the orang-utan and gorilla, in places such as Indonesia and the Congo Basin. People can guarantee that what they are buying comes from sustainable sources by looking for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. The FSC logo means it has been sourced from well-managed forests according to high environmental and social standards.

ENDS

Notes to editor
For more information on the 'What Wood You Choose?' campaign, click here.The Local Authority Pledge campaign was part of WWF's 'What Wood You Choose?' initiative, The campaign will last until February by which point WWF aims to get 100 more local authorities to sign up to the sustainable timber pledge. To find out more click here.

WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. We're working to create solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature can thrive. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, tacking climate change and changing the way we live. www.wwf.org.uk

For further information, please contact:
Robin Clegg, WWF-UK. Tel: 07771 818 707, email: rclegg@wwf.org.uk
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