The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) presented the economic and environmental advantages of the timber industry to an assembly of MSPs at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 2nd.
The event was hosted by Jim Hume, the MSP for the South of Scotland, and was organised to highlight the role the wooden pallets and packaging industry has in sustaining the Scottish timber and sawmilling sectors, the wider Scottish economy and in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It was attended by nine SMPs from four parties, including Shadow Minister for the Environment, Nanette Milne, and key representatives of the timber industry.
Mr Hume said: “I was delighted to host this event on behalf of TIMCON. As an employer of more than 8,000 people directly and 30,000 indirectly, the timber pallets and packaging industry contributes significantly to our economy. And, as the sustainable forests from which they are produced store carbon as they grow, they are also highly beneficial for our environment and reducing the footprint of the businesses that use them. Attendance was excellent, demonstrating the importance this industry has to my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament.”
TIMCON President John Dye said: “This is the first time TIMCON has taken its messages direct to politicians and we were delighted with the support shown to us by our host Jim Hume and the MSPs who attended. The size and importance of the timber industry to Scotland meant the Scottish Parliament was an obvious starting point for us. We are now moving ahead with plans for further events at Westminster and in the Welsh Assembly.”
All 122 members of the Scottish Parliament received an information pack from the event. Addressing these MPs, Mr Dye highlighted the positive role the timber industry plays in the UK economy, particularly in international movement of products.
“The Scottish Forestry Industry is a vital part of our economy,” he said. “The wood packaging industry provides a critical market for the Scottish Forest products sector, playing a vital role in providing employment and economic development, particularly in remote rural areas of Scotland.
“Wood has unique environmental characteristics and is a positive contributor towards combating climate change, helping the UK Government to deliver its low carbon economy. It has a negative carbon footprint, saving 27kg of carbon for each wooden pallet used. By contrast, the vast majority of other packaging materials add significantly to the carbon footprint of a business.
“Our work in co-operation with the Forestry Commission to implement the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme has further enhanced wood’s reputation, helping to protect the nation’s forests through the internationally agreed ISPM15 standard, which allows the trouble-free movement of goods worldwide.”
Roddie Burgess, head of plant health for the Forestry Commission, spoke at the event, presenting the timber industry’s achievements in implementing the ISPM 15 wood-marking scheme.
Gil Covey, TIMCON’s former president and president of European Federation of Wooden Pallets & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB), gave an overview of the importance of timber on a European scale. He said: “The timber pallet and packaging industry has a fantastic story to tell both economically and environmentally, since we can supply the lowest cost product, with a negative carbon footprint, and is repairable and recyclable.
Events such as this demonstrate that we are becoming more organised and that we are committed to raising awareness of the threat to our wider industry and to safeguarding and promoting timber across Europe and the world. We all have an important role to play in this process.”
For more on TIMCON, please visit www.timcon.org