27 November 2003 | Simon Binns
Greenpeace has teamed up with the Union of Construction and Allied Trades and Technicians (Ucatt) to encourage UK construction companies to adopt more environmentally sound procurement policies.
A Ucatt report, "The Case for Specifying Timber from Sustainable and Legal Sources", argues firms should buy timber from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
George Brumwell, general secretary of Ucatt, said: "The construction industry is often criticised for its approach to the use of natural resources. This initiative is an opportunity to silence critics and prove that everyone within the industry can contribute to sustainable development."
Earlier this year, Greenpeace shut down the construction site of the new Home Office headquarters after discovering the project was using timber from Indonesia's ancient forests.
John Sauven, Greenpeace campaign director, said: "The government must ensure its central point of expertise on timber procurement will guarantee projects funded by local and central government implement green procurement policies."
The organisation said the UK is the largest importer of illegal tropical timber in Europe, with about 60 per cent of all imports coming from some of the world's most important rainforests.