Keep carbon clever

Wood for Good has played a huge role in promoting timber to the wider built environment for many years now. Campaign Manager, Sarah Virgo spoke to us about the plans ahead including the new Wood CO2ts less campaign.

Not everyone realises the full extent of wood’s benefits and that is what I have set out to address as the new Wood for Good Campaign Manager. We need to collaborate as an industry and communicate the benefits of building with wood to the construction industry and beyond.

I was prepared for a challenge when I took on the role six months ago, but along with the rest of the world, I was not prepared for a global pandemic. However, lockdown has not stopped me from setting out what I want to achieve, and I have been overwhelmed by the positivity, passion and dedication within the industry and its desire to provide solutions that work. Despite not being able to attend industry events and meet with those pushing for change, we have bonded over virtual meetings and established what we need to do to drive the agenda forward.

Climate change has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and my interest in sustainability and nature runs deep. It is what made me seek out a career in marketing and communications for the third sector and how I became a member of the 2050 Climate Group in Scotland.

I hope to use these connections to increase exposure for the timber industry and inform those responsible for the design and construction of buildings about the benefits wood products can bring. The timber industry is perfectly placed to take centre stage in discussions around how we can work towards zero carbon. It is not the only solution to climate change, but it is the best natural solution available to us, critical to building a circular economy. In addition to capturing carbon, we can’t ignore the inherent beauty of wood’s aesthetics, its flexibility and adaptability as a material, and its contribution to health and wellbeing as a product.

Wood for Good’s supporters have continued to share this message throughout the pandemic, despite the challenges they have faced. However, lockdown, if anything, has made our message stronger, highlighting the urgency and importance of combating climate change. We must embrace a green recovery and we will continue to do so through the Wood CO2ts less campaign.

Launched in the middle of July, Wood CO2ts less is an industry-wide campaign developed by Wood for Good, Swedish Wood, Confor, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Structural Timber Association (STA). 

We began with a generic launch of the message to engage the timber industry and influencers within the construction and sustainability sectors. Now, we are widening the campaign’s message to focus on the construction industry and policymakers. The campaign has been a great success so far. In addition to backing from the main supporters, the timber industry is pledging its allegiance to the campaign. Södra, Vastern Timber, James Latham, James Jones, BSW and Scottish Forestry have all shown their support and through the campaign’s visibility, we have also seen new supporters join Wood for Good. 

Planning for the future feels complicated right now. The pandemic’s long-term effects on industry, society and the environment will impact us for years to come. Yet, with the announcement that we have plunged into another recession, now is not the time to stand still.

Despite some positive reports on the reduction of CO2 emissions while the world was on lockdown, they are on the rise again and will continue to plague us if we do not act. We must continue campaigning for wood as a natural solution to achieving net zero into 2021 and encourage those in the entire supply chain to help communicate this message. Together we will see the wood for the trees. 

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Images: Wood has a huge role to play in sustainable construction and low carbon buildings. Courtesy Södra Wood 

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