William Merivale – National Secretary, PEFC (Ireland) CLG

  • William Merivale is a chartered surveyor, specialising in forest management consultancy, first in the UK and, for over 30 years, in Ireland.  In 2008 he was instrumental in starting the Irish branch of PEFC, the world’s largest forest certification system.  PEFC promotes the sustainable management of the world’s forests.

     

    Title: Certified, responsibly produced timber – an essential component in sustainable construction

    Synopsis :The Brundtland Commission Report (1987) on “our common future” defined sustainable development as “development which fulfils the needs of the present generation without jeopardising the possibilities of future generations to fulfil their needs.

    1. This report was published before the extent of climate change became better understood and the live issue it is today. Sustainability now encompasses both the above and the urgent need to address anthropogenic climate change.
    2. Forests are both part of the challenge – deforestation, forest degradation; and a significant part of the solution – carbon sequestration, a source of perpetually renewable industrial raw material and the livelihood for approx. 20% of the world’s population, habitat, biodiversity, water management etc.
    3. Steel and concrete are 19th and 20th century materials. Engineered timber (CLT, Glulam etc) is the most exciting construction material for the 21st  Both low- and high-rise developments constructed of engineered timber are now a reality.
    4. However, we need to know where wood and wood based products are coming from. No other material in constant use sits at both ends of the environmental spectrum at the same time – it can be associated with catastrophic environmental and social damage, but when sourced sustainably it has the lowest carbon footprint of any construction material.
    5. Certification is the solution:
    • of the management of the forest of origin (forest management certification), and
    • of the material as it progresses through the manufacturing supply chain from forest of origin to end user (chain of custody certification).
    1. Two globally recognised systems:
    • FSC – subsidiary of WWF, established in 1993
    • PEFC – alliance of mutually recognised national systems, established in 1999.
    1. Brief description of the two systems; and explanation of how certification, especially chain of custody, works in practice.
    2. Emphasis on the need to use more, not less, wood in construction provided the source can be verified through certification

 

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