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Welcome to our news page, where you will find news about what is happening at Border Hardwood and in the timber industry. Any questions or comments please email our head office and let us know. 

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Border Hardwood attends TTF European Oak conference. 

Border Hardwoods managing Director, Charlie Bevan-Jones and Sales Director Mick Fabre, were delighted to attend the European Oak Conference this year.

 The event was organized by the TTF and looked at the problems of rising price and increasing pressure on availability.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to have a general market overview of the European Oak industry”, commented Charlie, “it’s important that we stay connected and switched on with what’s happening in Europe.

 “There are currently so many worries in the industry, rising cost and an increased lack of raw product; these were all confirmed at the conference”, he added.

The lack of restriction on the export of round logs from France has resulted in a 181% increase in exports to China, resulting in a dramatic price increase. This is due to a recent reduction in tax from the Chinese government on the import of raw materials; this has increased export volumes from European countries and increased the price of the raw product, for buyers in the EU.

“This causes issues for us as British importers of hardwoods, as the cost of our raw material is rising”, Mick commented, “So events like this are really important to see what is going on and continue an atmosphere of cooperation with our European friends regardless of Brexit”.

Currently, the EU is trying to make laws to reduce the export of European timber to the Far East; thus increasing and protecting the timber trade in the European Union.

Charlie explained that “Although we have plenty of regulations on imports like the EUTR, exports are not as heavily regulated, and hopefully the EU will address this issue in a way that is best for European growers and timber merchants.

“The problem is, most of the forests in France where we source our timber are privately owned which makes legislation difficult to implement, it will be interesting to see what is in store for the industry over the next few years”

The availability of European Oak has also been affected by changes in the important and export of Oak from Croatia and Ukraine; this is mainly due to the impact of pests in Croatia and the implementation of Ukraine government’s measures to improve the domestic industry.

PEFC stakeholder field trip.

Recently, the sustainability officer for Border Hardwood, Tom Hiles attended the annual PEFC™ stakeholder field trip, which this year was in Lockerbie and jointly sponsored by Scottish Woodlands and James Jones and Sons.

The annual event was exclusively for PEFC™ stakeholders, the trip brings together companies and organizations who have interests and commitments to sustainability and more specifically PEFC™.

The trip involved multiple site visits that demonstrated responsible forestry, sourcing and manufacture, essentially the whole chain of custody.

 Tom explained why events like this are important, “Attending stakeholder events like this is really important. As well as showing Border Hardwoods commitment and support of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, it provides the opportunity for stakeholders to share best practice, discuss current issues and establish links within the industry. Having the opportunity to visit a market leader such as James Jones & Sons was fantastic. Despite their specialty being softwood, seeing the size of their operation and the importance that PEFC™ and sustainability have for their business was of great interest. Like Border Hardwood, they use all co-products from their manufacturing processes and despite the scale, it was good to see the similarities in our two businesses.

On the second day, all members were invited to take part in a group roundtable discussion that centered on certification. One of the many positives that PEFC™ have is that the people who work for PEFC™ UK are very open and available for discussion and advice. As a result topics of discussion ranged from the standardization of the auditing processes to how PEFC™ can raise its own awareness, despite their limited marketing budget.

“For Border Hardwood Ltd, being PEFC™ certified is an important part of our commitment to sustainable supply. Any event where we can broaden our knowledge and understanding of responsible forestry and timber supply has to be worthwhile.  

“As much as local authorities and large corporations are starting to recognize the importance of the chain of custody, the challenge is now getting the everyday consumer to recognize and demand certified timber and make the sustainable choice.”

Border Hardwood Ltd Director Charlie Bevan- Jones goes to France.

This week Director Charlie Bevan Jones traveled 1800km on a four-day trip sourcing European Oak.

Charlie said, “I go and visit about nine of our European partners, it’s a good opportunity to go and say hello to our friends on the continent.”

“We purchased over 500m3 of high-quality European Oak, predominantly air dried beams.”The summer is a busy time at Border Hardwood Ltd, with acquiring new stock a priority.

“We currently stock over 400 different Oak products, along with 20,000cuft of air dried beams in stock, along with a sawn-to-size service.”

Here at Border Hardwood Ltd, we source only the best timber, hand selected from quality sawmills in Europe. This process allows us to check quality and grade before it arrives in the UK.

We only source timber from sawmills that are FSC® and PEFC™ certified, meaning all of our Oak is sustainably grown and harvested by our suppliers.

Border Hardwood Ltd attends Carrefour International du Bois.

Border Hardwood Managing Director Charlie Bevan-Jones, along with PB Hardwoods Director Paul Butterworth, enjoyed this year’s Carrefour International du Bois tremendously.

The Carrefour International du Bois Trade Show is an international event is held every 2 years in Nantes France. The event centers around the concept ‘wood is good,’ which takes place over 3 days, with over 10,000 visitors attending from over 80 countries.

The show exhibits a variety of timber products for the construction industry and with over 550 stalls, there is plenty to choose from! The exhibitors come from all manner of sectors, from sawmills, the timber trade, home improvement and design, to forestry owners.

“We Flew from Birmingham to Nantes on a Wednesday morning”, said Managing Director Charlie Bevan-Jones, “On the flight, we were surrounded by fellow UK importers so we had a good chance to catch up with them, it was really nice to see some old friends.”

Over the three day event, there were lots of chances for delegates to network “We spent a lot of time cementing relationships with existing suppliers, or forging new relationships while developing new supply chains in Europe to increase some of our target markets” explained Charlie and Paul.

The show is not just about buying, selling and networking, however, with a large focus on conferences to speak about industry news with some very knowledgeable French and international speakers.

Paul Butterworth commented “Nantes was its usual lively self-giving us good opportunity to socialize with competitors and suppliers alike; it was also a good opportunity to keep in touch with what is happening in the industry internationally.

 

 

 

Border Hardwood Ltd is now selling softwood!

Due to the recent increase in the demand for home-grown softwoods, Border Hardwood Ltd is excited to announce the arrival of our new softwood sales team leader Steve Evans.

Steve has been working in the softwood industry for over 15 years and is an expert in all things Larch, Cedar and Douglas fir; being a proud Welshman Steve will be primarily selling Welsh home-grown timber. Steve commented, “I am very excited about joining such a great team and heading up the softwood sales at Border Hardwood.”

“I’m passionate about homegrown timber and think it’s important to support our local economy especially in Wales where there is such a good supply of local, quality, softwoods,” added Steve.

Softwood has shown a lot of growth over the past 12 months, with an increase in demand for softwood for feather edged cladding and structural uses.

Managing Director Charlie Bevan-Jones explained, “I really wanted to get more involved in our home-grown timber industry and support timber that is grown in Britain; there have been some problems in this sector and it’s important that Border Hardwood shows it support for our locally grown timber.”

For all softwood enquiries please email: steve@borderhardwood.com

Why by softwood from Border Hardwood?

Border Hardwood Ltd has started ‘branching’ out into the softwood market, headed by Steve Evans.

Softwood is ideal for the construction industry and external cladding, and after 15 years in the industry, Steve is confident he can provide his customers with the best product possible.

Border Hardwood Ltd now offers homegrown and European graded C24 high-quality Douglas fir and Larch. With large amounts of softwood in stock, customers can take advantage of short turnaround times and excellent product availability.

Steve Evans commented, “Selling softwood at Border Hardwood has a lot of advantages, mainly, all the machining facilities which allow us to saw and plane all our softwood in-house.”

For all softwood enquiries please email: steve@borderhardwood.com

Due diligence and corruption in the timber industry. 

Earthsight recently published a report on corruption in the European timber industry and the purchasing of illegal timber from Ukraine by Europe. The report focused on the illegal logging happening in the ecologically important and sensitive regions that support some of our continents most endangered wildlife.

Earthsight spent two years investigating how illegal logging in the region was fueling corruption throughout Eastern Europe and corruption within Ukraine itself. The EU purchased 1 billion Euros of timber in 2017 from the region which represents 70% of all the illegal timber that is harvested. Of that, 40% of the timber from the region is illegal and was harvested in ecologically sensitive areas. Ukraine is the largest single supplier of such high-risk wood to the EU, exceeding all of the tropical countries of Latin America, Africa, and SE Asia combined.

The report pointed out sadly that this was commonplace and was occurring without much protest or intervention by the EU to uphold the EUTR of 2013. They also found that most of this wood was FSC® certified despite being harvested illegally. Earthsight commented that this was prevalent due to the lack of due diligence by the FSC® and timber companies who were not checking where their wood comes from or performing any independent audits.

This story is similar to others across the continent where issues with illegal logging and irresponsible timber harvesting practices are prevalent.

Romania, for example, is one of the largest areas of primeval forests that are left in Europe with 200,000 hectors of vegan forests still remaining in the Carpathians. This is a very important area biologically and ecologically not just because it is one of the last strongholds of European wolf’s bears and lynx but also for the important microflora and fauna in the soils of the region. Europe is subject to large areas of soil erosion and degradation due to deforestation and agricultural practices.

However, this important region is now being commercially logged with little to no opposition from the government or EU.

This story was also repeated recently in Poland who has been logging in the ancient Bialwieza forest regardless of it being deemed illegal by the EU and being a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the last remaining strongholds of European Bison.

All of this timber is then going into our furniture, paper, and packaging; Earthsight called out Homebase HP, Staples and Ikea for their part in purchasing this illegal timber.

But where then does this leave timber merchants in the UK, who want to operate in a sustainable way? The FSC® and PEFC™ accreditations are great ways of promoting a sustainable supply chain, but as we have seen through reports like this from Earthsight there are still big issues.

One of the main issues is that most of the industry still mainly relies on an element of trust because the FSC® and PEFC™ can’t carry out independent audits in every forest. Stories like this are very disheartening and it makes it much harder for businesses to ensure the certifications on their wood, trying to be a responsible merchant and carry out due diligence checks is all you can do.

This month Border Hardwood Ltd. will be going to Romania in order to carry out due diligence checks on FSC®approved sawmills that supply their timber. Director Charlie Bevan-Jones and Sustainability Officer Tom Hiles will be carrying out checks and asking questions about child labor, timber storage, and timber harvesting. This is an important trip for Border Hardwood as a timber merchant to ensure everything that can be done is done although much of this process is still heavily reliant on trust. These due diligence checks help keep out business transparent and customers informed and are the most important part of being a sustainable timber merchant.                                                   

Pile of solid oaks oak-beam-piles