TIMCON Showcases Industry Collaboration at 2012 AGM

The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON)’s AGM, held in Edinburgh last month, took the sector’s collaboration with other forest-based industries as a main theme.

Members heard presentations from speakers representing Confor, Timber Trade Federation and the European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufactures (FEFPEB), who gave updates on their organisations’ work on matters of shared concern with TIMCON.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor highlighted the organisation’s ongoing work to promote the forestry sector, communicate with politicians and NGOs and tackle issues such as availability of timber in the face of increasing demand for biomass fuels.

He also spoke about the geographical differences in the understanding of the environmental and economic benefits of using wood. While this concept is generally appreciated by the public in Scotland, he said, there is far less understanding in Wales and Northern Ireland and hardly any understanding in England.

Goodall concluded by saying forest-based industries have “What the Government wants – low carbon businesses that support well-managed forests”, and said it was essential for all sectors to work together to identify and deal with issues that arise to prevent this message being understood.

Fons Ceelart, secretary general of FEFPEB, gave the view from Europe, reminding TIMCON delegates of the extent of the European timber packaging and pallets business and presenting them with an overview of the organisation’s current activities.

FEFPEB estimates that 450 million new pallets are manufactured in Europe, using 24 million square metres of timber every year, and directly employs around 80,000 people, and indirectly a further 300,000. These facts, coupled with the environmental advantages of using timber packaging, said Ceelart, have formed the basis of FEFPEB’s new pan-European Packaging from Nature campaign.
Meanwhile, John White, Chief executive of the Timber Trade Federation, presented an update on the EU Timber Regulation Platform (EUTR), which comes into force on March 3rd next year, and the traceability requirements traders will need to have in place.

In his address to the meeting, TIMCON president John Dye said working with other industry bodies is now a fundamental part of TIMCON’s work. “Size and having a united front really does matter, especially when lobbying and making our interest clear and our voices heard,” he said.

“The biggest and most important change that we are seeing in the timber industry over the last year is that all relevant associations are joining forces to create a larger and stronger lobbying voice – while retaining their identities.”

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