Our performance

five year environment strategy
Legal and responsible sourcing

As set out in our Five-year environmental strategy, we are committed to sourcing legal and sustainable timber products and to continuously increase the proportion of third-party certified and legally verified material in our supply chain.

 

We set a target of 70% of all purchases to be 3rd party certified or legally verified by 2018, which we surpassed two years early. Our continued efforts have enabled us to successfully maintain levels above this threshold.

 

Our performance has earned us a 3 tree score in WWF’s GFTN’s Scorecard Timber (2017 & 2019), an important initiative by WWF to assess the progress towards sustainability by the timber industry.

 

During the course of 2021, we will continue our focus on West/Central Africa sawn timber and flooring, where some of the greatest challenges to certification remain. This requires collaboration with sustainability thought-leaders within the industry and NGO community.

 

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, the timber sector faces challenging times. It is especially important in these times to support responsible supply chains – in some countries, these companies provide vital health care services for employees and local communities.

 

Change in proportion of certified and legally verified timber 2013-2019

 

  Certified & verified FSC® certified PEFC certified Legally verified* Non–certified
2020 77.3% 47.6% 21.3% 8.4% 22.7%
2019 75.7% 44.6% 19.9% 11.2% 24.3%
2018 78.2% 42.1% 23.6% 12.5% 21.8%
2017 78.6% 43.7% 25.5% 9.5% 21.4%
2016 71.7% 45.7% 21.6% 4.4% 28.28%
2015 67.2% 41.7% 25.0% <1% 32.8%
2014 61.7% 45.8% 14.8% 1.1% 38.3%
2013 51.7% 31.3% 18.4% 1.0% 49.1%

*Legally verified schemes identified in our Responsible Purchasing Policy.

 

2020

77.3% of timber and timber-based products purchased were third-party certified or legally verified, an increase from 2019. This is despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought about significant sourcing challenges.

 

Of the 22.7% of non-certified material, 61% (13.8% of total purchases) originate from countries with good forest governance such as USA, Canada, UK and France. A further 8% (1.8% of total purchases) was imported directly from suppliers with whom we have engaged extensively to ensure legality, in accordance with our due diligence system and where certification is not currently a viable option.

 

 

 

 

2019

75.7% of timber and timber products purchased was third-party certified or legally verified, a slight decrease from the previous year. This is largely due to a decline in overall availability of certified goods from Central Africa, in part due to the instability resulting from the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon.

 

Of the 24.3% non-certified products, 63% (15.4% of total purchases) originate from countries with good forest governance such as USA, Canada, UK and France. A further 9% (2.1% of total purchases) was imported directly from suppliers with whom we have engaged extensively to ensure legality, in accordance with our due diligence system and where certification is not currently a viable option.

 

 

 

2018

78.2% of timber and timber products purchased was third-party certified or legally verified, roughly the same as 2017. This reflects an anticipated plateau as the biggest changes to our supply chain have now been made.

 

Similar to the previous year, the majority of the non-certified products, 67% (14.7% of total purchases) originate from countries with good forest governance such as USA, Canada, UK and France. A further 11.6% (2.5% of total purchases) was imported directly from suppliers with whom we have engaged extensively to ensure legality, in accordance with our due diligence system and where certification is not currently a viable option.

 

We became the first company in the UK to achieve Nature’s Barcode verification for all of our Chinese flooring imports. Timber legality and traceability experts Double Helix carry out a programme of auditing of the supply chain and product testing, providing legality assurances which we can pass on to our customers for both PEFC and non-certified flooring. Our efforts were also focussed on auditing numerous companies in Cameroon.

 

 

 

 

2017

78.6% of timber and timber products purchased was third-party certified or legally verified, a sizable increase from 2016. A significant increase of legally verified timber is attributed to changes in our African hardwood imports.

 

Of the 21.4% of non-certified purchased, 65% (13.8% of total purchases) originate from countries with good forest governance such as USA, Canada, UK and France. A further 24% (5% of total purchases) was imported directly from suppliers with whom we have engaged extensively to ensure legality, in accordance with our due diligence system and where certification is not currently a viable option.

 

Our due diligence initiatives include a visit to China to audit our supplier, with the support of third-party legality experts.

 

 

2016

71.2% of timber and timber products purchased was third-party certified or legally verified, surpassing our target of 70% by 2018. A significant increase of legally verified timber from <1% in 2015 to 4.4% is attributed to changes in our African hardwood imports.

 

Of the 28.8% of non-certified timber purchased, 55% (16% of total purchases) originate from countries with good forest governance such as USA, Canada, UK and France. A further 21% (6% of total purchases) was imported directly from suppliers with whom we have engaged extensively to ensure legality, in accordance with our due diligence system and where certification is not currently a viable option.

 

Our due diligence initiatives include visits to Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Republic of Congo to audit our suppliers, inspecting from sawmill back to forest origin. We have conducted training and audited our supplier in China, with the support of third-party legality experts.

 

 

2015

67.2% of timber and timber products purchased was third-party certified or legally verified, making solid progression towards our target of 70% by 2018. 66.7% was either FSC or PEFC certified, up 6% from the previous year. Large growth in PEFC certified products is attributed to the acquisition of our Sewstern depot, which sources primarily British and European timber.

 

Our Responsible Purchasing Policy  was revised in February to reflect our revised approach to due diligence and reviewed the certification schemes that we recognise; we maintain a clear preference for FSC® and PEFC but also recognise the importance of legality verification schemes as a stepping stone towards sustainability.

 

As part of our due diligence work, we initiated a programme of product testing on selected products to verify species and origin claims.

 

2014

60.6% of purchases were either FSC or PEFC certified, and a further 1% was legally verified. A strong focus on FSC, particularly in tropical hardwoods, has significantly increased our overall certified percentage from 49.8% in 2013. We introduced a certified-only policy on Brazilian Ipe.

 

We have updated our Due Diligence System to ensure our compliance with the EU Timber Regulation. We visited our supplier in Indonesia and China, conducted audits and liaised with stakeholders and timber legality experts.

IN–HOUSE CAPACITY AND EXPERTISE

To head our new Environmental Compliance division, we hired a Group Environmental Compliance Manager in March 2014, bringing expertise in timber legality and certification. Further hiring of an Assistant with chain of custody experience in 2015 has provided additional support to this important area of work.

COMMITMENT TO IMPROVEMENT

We actively participate in stakeholder meetings and consultations, which enable us to stay abreast of the latest developments while also contributing to strengthening the forest certification systems that we use.

 

Since June 2014, Brooks Bros has sat on the  TTF Forests Forever Environmental Committee , which plays a key role in shaping the TTF’s strategy and industry leadership on wider sustainability issues. In 2016, this included an overhaul of the RPP.

 

Last updated: 1st April 2021