Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Environmental NGOs virtually impossible to work with

Patrick Cooper

By Patrick Cooper

Market Development Coordinator, Canada Wood UK

November 18, 2011

Lumber importers learn about Canada’s sustainably and legally harvested forests

The timber and wood products industries appear to find it virtually impossible to work with environmental NGOs. The apparent differences in culture and suspicion on both sides results in missed opportunities to join forces and campaign on issues of mutual interest and concern, and better understand each others’ viewpoints. I remember one rare
occasion, when working in a past life for The Malaysian Timber Council we arranged a joint stand with Greenpeace at an exhibition, both advocating the use of responsibly sourced wood for windows manufacture instead of environmentally harmful PVCu. Currently in the UK, ENGO Rainforest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald) is campaigning against proposals to construct four large biomass power stations in Scotland, claiming that the resultant demand for fuel will exacerbate deforestation, increase carbon emissions, cause local pollution, cost the public £300 million in subsidies, and be so inefficient as to contradict Scottish Government and EU policy on biomass. Meanwhile, quite separately a timber industry supported campaign called Stop Burning Our Trees is lobbying government saying that burning trees results in increased CO2 emissions, puts up the price of electricity and wood products, and costs jobs in the UK. Wouldn’t it be so much better if the two sectors joined forces to put forward their shared messages, and position themselves as the pragmatic force for good?