Certified Timber is the Way Forward

Certified Timber is the Way Forward

Vandecasteele Houtimport are one of the leading European timber importers and have ambitious aims to trade only in certified timber by 2025.

The Belgian fifth-generation family company, founded in 1883, Vandecasteele Houtimport specialises in the import, trading and export of tropical hardwood from Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, Scandinavian and North-American softwood, North American and European hardwood.

Sustainability and reliability are an essential part of Vandecasteele Houtimport’s DNA. With over 140 years of experience, the company is determined to achieve the goal of trading only certified timber by 2025. The challenge lies with the hardwood and especially the tropical hardwoods.

Today they are at 80% certified and have a clear vision: only certified timber has a future.

A long-term goal that can only be achieved by including all partners

Substantial investments have been made over the years to be able to realise this future goal. You cannot achieve this goal overnight. This is a long-term job in which all partners must be included. If we want to assure our customers that we keep our promise to only trade timber that comes from well-managed, certified forests, we need to be sure that all our trading partners share the same strictest certification and sustainability processes as we do. 

Vandecasteele Houtimport has a unique business model. Importing timber from all over the world, keeping in stock for several years, in some cases, even decades. Stock is our strength and our specialty. In times where supply is difficult or tight, we can count on our invested stocks to guarantee continued supply.

In order to achieve our goal we have taken several actions within the company. First, we were assisted by external experts to get the procedures and protocols in place. Secondly, the team at Vandecasteele was reinforced with two forest engineers in Brazil. That way we can keep a finger on the pulse of every shipment and we are able to accurately apply the ever-changing legislation in Brazil with great precision. This sends an important signal to our suppliers. They know that doing business with Vandecasteele Houtimport means complying with a procedure that is continuously refined and adapted. All timber transport requires our approval. When in doubt the timber is not accepted.

Masters in diversification

Vandecasteele has a long-term commitment to preserving the forests. The family business imports more than 130 different species of timber coming from 40 countries and has over 120,000 cubic meters in stock, mainly certified hard and softwoods. We support the LKTS program of FSC® Denmark with which we want to help promote the use of lesser known species. We keep these lesser-known species in stock and offer them as alternatives.

Timber is too often prescribed from a specific well-known species. From the point of view of responsible forest management, we must dare to choose the right durability class for an application instead of a specific timber species.

Rethink everything: a positive evolution in consumer purchasing behaviour

Customers are increasingly asking questions about certification and the origin of the timber. Buyers are becoming more and more aware of the need to use certified timber. Importing tropical wood goes further than just asking for timber. There is a continuous evolution, because of new insights and new legislation. We work together with external experts, we are broadening our internal knowledge and we continually make progress. Making progress is an ongoing process. Considerable steps have already been taken with the EU Timber Regulation but we can and should do better. We want to see and monitor a stronger application and support for certified timber.

Vandecasteele communicates continuously with the users via its website and campaigns in order to spread that message. This is necessary because the purchase of FSC® certified wood contributes to 14 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purchase of FSC® certified timber contributes to biodiversity.

Since the year 2000, Vandecasteele Houtimport has committed itself through the Corporate Durability Charter by signing up to environmental objectives exceeding the applicable legislation. In 2018, the charter started a partnership with CIFAL Flanders, the local HUB of UNITAR, the Training and Education Centre of the UN. In 2020, Vandecasteele Houtimport was the first timber company in the world to obtain the international recognised ‘SDG Pioneer certificate’ from UNITAR CIFAL. In 2022, we were the first timber company in the world to have achieved the “SDG Champion award”. More at: www.vandecasteele.be

Article by Timber Media https://www.timbermedia.co.uk/category/vandecasteele-press-releases/

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Posted on Wednesday 17 May 2023 at 11:21

Tags: Architects News Planed Timber Sawn Timber Species Focus Useful Guides Wood / Timber    Share: twitter facebook linkedin
Terry Hanlon - Guest Author Author: Terry Hanlon - Guest Author

Terry is the Managing Director at Timber Media Ltd, we live and breathe timber.

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