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Softwood fencing – a great choice for the environment

Softwood fencing & garden products are a great choice for the environment.

When forests are harvested, there is little environmental impact, except for the effect of transport, etc. Trees take most carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when they are young, and some old trees actually emit methane that is a powerful greenhouse gas. If the trees are harvested, and the timber is used in a structure, the carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and not returned (as it would be, if the timber was burnt or decayed naturally). The impact of softwood use on the environment and  the greenhouse effect is therefore beneficial.

Many of our suppliers use slow grown joinery grade Scandinavian redwood that is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) . Softwood has long be held as the definition of “renewable” or “sustainable” making it the material of choice for consumers for many varied projects and uses, such as softwood fencing.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) has a set of criteria and principles for sustainable forest management, these include forest production chains of custody which are applied internationally against individual businesses and subject to state forestry third party audits.

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) accredits national forest certification schemes to its standards, with associated chain of custody systems, for which companies must also undergo independent auditing.

Between them, FSC and PEFC certification cover an area approaching 500 million hectares, or 11% of the total global forest areas and this continues to expand. This divides as 196 million hectares under the FSC scheme, 300 million hectares under the PEFC scheme, with the former having issued 36,000 product chain of custody certificates, the latter 20,000.

These schemes are designed to halt deforestation and forest degradation, support forest growth, promote ecosystem protection and underpin the social and economic benefits of sustainable forestry. Their key focus is tropical regions, but environmental certification has developed most rapidly in Europe, principally due to its existing high forest management standards. Today a quarter of global certified forest area is in Western Europe. The country with the highest proportion of forest certified is Finland, with 81% followed by Sweden at slightly over 60%. The coverage tends to be lower in southern countries, with Portugal and Spain at 12% and Italy 9%. The schemes’ insistence on third-party audited chain-of-custody certification ensures that end products can be tracked back to the certified forest where they originated and can be kept separate from non-certified material along the supply chain.

Challenge Fencing seek out suppliers that hold either FSC and/or PEFC chain of custody, so you can buy products that are sustainable and are making a positive contribution to the well being of the planet.


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