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Falkirk council’s silver pledge journey

 

Falkirk council in central Scotland recently took our Silver Pledge to show their commitment to buying and using sustainable timber and paper products. (Is your council doing the same? Ask them to take the pledge.)

James King from Falkirk council outlines the process they went through…

“For our Silver Pledge we chose to focus on our ‘Framework Agreement for the Supply of Building Materials’, which includes selecting a timber supplier.

Logs that have been harvested according to FSC standards.From the harvesting… © WWF-Switzerland / A. della Bella / WWF-Canon

A central condition of this contract was that the timber must be certified, and the successful supplier would have to include a copy of their up-to-date ‘chain of custody’ registration certificate.

We held a pre-contract meeting where the requirements for certified timber were emphasised and a standard letter was sent out to all the potential suppliers explaining that all their delivery notes and invoices must state the chain of custody number, and state that the products sold were from a certified source. If we didn’t see this on the invoice or delivery note, we would refuse the delivery.

We didn’t encounter any barriers from suppliers, as we made our requirements clear from the start, and we only considered suppliers that could supply certified timber.

The timber was to be delivered directly into our central store, which would give us more control. Our store manager kept a spreadsheet to monitor all the deliveries, making sure that all delivery notes and invoices showed that certified timber had indeed been delivered.

Although a procurement officer was driving the process, having the monitoring work carried out by the store manager proved invaluable. The low but consistent number of deliveries to our store made the monitoring more manageable

Another key point was that having deliveries direct to our store meant that invoices were sent direct to us too – as opposed to a third-party supplier / contractor doing work on our behalf and having to provide a copy of their invoice.

A stack of FSC sourced wood…to the final timber, using certified suppliers ensures that the wood is sustainably sourced. © Benjamin Ealovega / WWF-UK

(We know some contractors may be reluctant to provide these invoices, which might contain commercially sensitive and confidential information – for example about original pricing and the mark-up being charged to the council. The council doesn’t need to know this for the purposes of monitoring; we only need to be sure that the timber being used is from a legal and sustainable source.)

Our store manager ended up being a strong advocate of the process, and the end result was a real team effort, with suppliers and council all pulling in the same direction.

We’re still monitoring the framework agreement process, and it will be used as a best practice case study within the council for identifying other areas that can be monitored as we aim to complete our WWF Gold Pledge.”

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