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Help your local councils help forests – your voice really counts


WWF’s local authority timber pledge campaign has now come to an end, but for the councils who have signed up to a sustainable timber pledge, the work has only just begun.

Felled FSC treesSustainably harvested, FSC certified wood. © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

The campaign has been extremely successful, with 96 local authorities making 130 sustainable timber pledges between them – that’s almost a quarter of all the local authorities in the UK. Take a look at the full list of who has pledged- and see if your local council has made a commitment to buy sustainable timber, helping protect the world’s forests and the wildlife and people that depend on them.

So far 12 organisations have now achieved their respective silver and gold level pledges – Glasgow City council, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and South Somerset District council have all recently achieved silver, while Brighton & Hove council recently became the second council in the UK to achieve gold!

With my assistance, as well as that from our partner organisations – Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) and the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET), the local authorities who have made pledges will now be working to set and then achieve their objectives over the next 18 months to two years. With our assistance, these councils will need to communicate their intentions upfront to key staff and suppliers, as well as putting processes and monitoring regimes in place to make sure they are getting what they ask for in terms of sustainable timber and paper products.

The campaign has had a real impact up and down the UK, and I thought I’d share with you what I feel have been some of the campaign’s biggest successes:

  • One of the most important and encouraging elements of this campaign has been the enthusiastic involvement of our wonderful supporters. Several councils who’ve recently pledged have told us that the deciding factor was the sheer volume of emails sent by WWF supporters, or indeed, our WWF Ambassadors, asking the council to make sure their procurement of wood and paper products supports responsible forest management. So thank you for your support!
  • 24 out of the 32 Scottish councils have now made a sustainable timber pledge, as well as 7 councils in Wales and 2 councils in Northern Ireland
  • 63 councils have made a bronze level pledge, 49 have made a silver pledge, and 18 have made a gold pledge
  • Councils who’ve achieved their respective silver and gold pledges have been proactively supporting other councils looking to emulate their good practice
  • Many major UK suppliers of forest products, who are on national local authority framework contracts, have been in touch with WWF-UK, asking which councils have signed up to a timber pledge, so they can make sure that they only supply compliant material to them. This is showing that the message of responsible procurement is spreading down the supply chain.
  • Local authority procurement officers have said they wouldn’t have adopted a sustainable timber procurement policy if it hadn’t been for the WWF campaign and the technical support – Scottish government procurement officials have been supportive, and will explore future opportunities to showcase the work of the campaign in the appropriate best practice guidance
  • Campaign partners such as SSN and CPET have been invaluable in assisting WWF to reach out to other local authorities
  • Many councils are now sharing case studies of the lessons learned from implementing their respective pledges on this blog

It’s this communication and shared lesson-learning done by councils which I feel will really drive positive change. As local authorities all work in different ways, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach just doesn’t work, which is why having a suite of as many different case studies as possible, highlighting good practice, is so important to help encourage those councils who have yet to pledge to start embedding sustainable procurement of forest products within their organisations.

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