Palmer Timber Limited are a privately owned timber importer and distributor based in the West Midlands, UK.
The company was founded in 1916 when William Henry Palmer purchased an old brick works and created a sawmill specialising in home grown hardwoods. Over a hundred years later the company still trade from that very same site with Richard Palmer, the great grandson of William, the current managing director.
Committed to sustainability
This is a guest article from Palmer Timber.
Palmer Timber have always been committed to sustainability within its supply chain. As the company grew and they began to import timber, particularly from Scandinavia where sustainability processes had been in place for centuries, Palmer Timber began to understand and appreciate the importance of good forest management.
So, when the Forest Stewardship Council was formed in 1994, Palmer Timber appreciated how important the principles of the scheme were and looked to join at the earliest opportunity. Becoming FSC-certified in 1997, this year sees the company celebrating their 25th anniversary.
“Being FSC-certified has opened so many doors for the company “, said Richard Palmer, “Thanks to our certification we have been able to supply timber and panel products to many well-known companies, from the Lawn Tennis Association to the World Wildlife Fund for example. We live in a world where environmental issues are front page news and it is imperative we take seriously the responsibility of ensuring the timber we supply to our customers is sourced both legally and sustainably. In fact, virtually all of our customers now insist that any material supplied to them is certified, so holding FSC certification has become absolutely imperative for the growth of the business”.
Becoming FSC-certified though is only the start of the process. The internal systems required to meet FSC’s standards need to be continually monitored and adjusted to ensure continued compliance. In Palmer Timbers’ case this responsibility falls to Jason Mead, the company’s environmental officer.
Many of our existing working practices needed to be tweaked a little to meet the requirements, but there were cases where complete operations had to be devised from scratch. For example, whilst we operate from a large site it is not always practical to have physical separation of certified and non-certified material. We therefore had to create an internal labelling system to allow us to easily identify material.
Jason Mead, Palmer Timber Environmental Officer.
To ensure their compliance at audit, Palmer Timber put Jason through the training to become an FSC Lead Auditor. “Whilst I am obviously unable to undertake our own audits it solidifies our commitment to FSC” said Jason, “It also allows us to integrate additions to the standard, such as the new core labour values, with an understanding of what an auditor will be looking for. We have fantastic dialogue with both our certification body (Interface NRM Ltd) and FSC UK so when we require additional advice or guidance they are always there for us. Having support like that is imperative to the smooth running of our system”.
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