16 January 2008 | Paul Snell
Firms have a moral, as well as a commercial, responsibility to buy ethically sourced timber, according to an industry leader.
John White, chief executive of the Timber Trade Federation, said responsible purchasing was crucial for those in the sector and for customers' peace of mind.
"Not only must we be sure where our wood comes from, we know that responsibly sourced wood improves your bottom line," he said. "Customers want to deal with companies they know are responsible and have a strong reputation for being so."
He added that tougher guidelines introduced by firms and a new government procurement policy would make informed sourcing a necessity in the future.
A report, published at the end of last year by think-tank Chatham House, said central government's approach to encouraging responsible sourcing within the public sector has not proved successful.
The study recommended establishing a framework of rewards and incentives to encourage the uptake of responsible timber sourcing policies.