Still much to do in STTC mission, says IDH

Nienke Stam (IDH)

The Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition is now a European brand, says Netherlands-based IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, which, as STTC founder and main donor, also took over the implementing partner role from the European Timber Trade Federation in March.  And, since its launch in 2013, IDH maintains the Coalition has made significant progress towards its goal of growing the European market for verified sustainable tropical timber.

“The STTC has grown into a European brand and platform and is now supporting 20 Action and Policy Plans at companies and organisations across Europe, aimed at mobilising verified sustainable tropical timber demand,” said IDH Senior Programme Manager Nienke Stam. “All partners currently implementing Action Plans and Policy plans have been informed about the structural change, which should ease their reporting requirements, and IDH looks forward to seeing the early results of their efforts.”

Underlining the market reach of the STTC a number of Action Plans  focused on working with architects, other specifiers and construction companies to encourage their use of sustainable tropical timber. New coalitions of companies working together have also emerged, such as the lesser known timber species (LKTS)  network in Denmark.

“One project I particularly look forward to experiencing during the STTC Conference in Aarhus, Denmark, this September is the Kulbroen bridge, a prestigious installation undertaken by the Danish LKTS consortium to demonstrate the performance of tropical timber generally and these species especially.”

While the STTC has made significant progress, IDH sees more to be done in its mission to grow awareness of verified sustainable tropical timber, and, of course, to drive sales in the marketplace.

“The STTC initiative has done much to mobilize public and private sector commitments to sustainable sourcing of tropical wood, and partners are now working hard to implement their Action Plans, but there is still a lot that can be improved,” said Ms Stam. “As the construction sector is now recovering in many parts of Europe,  demand for tropical timber is rising again and, in our view, three developments the STTC has helped kick-start will continue to be needed; ambition in the sector to collaborate on and promote use of verified sustainable tropical timber; improved data on market uptake of the material, and a greater sharing of information and  technical research on tropical timber between European STTC partners. One STTC initiative I like in the context of the latter is the ATIBT Action Plan to launch the first European online tropical timber landing page, bringing together data and reports from all participating Timber Trade Federations and their members and partners.”

The STTC Action Plans IDH has contracted will be implemented through 2017/18. Coalition funding beyond this has yet to be decided and will be a topic of discussion at the STTC Conference.

“Any STTC partner or organization interested in exchange on this is welcome to reach out to us,” said Ms Stam.