The timber industry has unveiled a new net zero roadmap, with input and support from trade bodies including the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).

Commissioned by Timber Development UK (TDUK), the Timber Industry Net Zero Roadmap was developed following a comprehensive effort to measure carbon emissions across the timber supply chain and highlights the low carbon footprint of waste wood.

Drawing on 12 months of analysis, the report shows that the timber supply chain is responsible for 1,575,356 tonnes CO2e territorial emissions – about 0.35% of the UK total. When combined with imported embodied emissions from the processing of wood products overseas, this figure increases to about 0.68% of the UK’s total emissions.

Of this, emissions from waste wood represent just 1% (at 59,802 tCO2e.), with the majority of these related to fuel used in vehicles and processes (see pie chart).

The report focuses on emissions associated with the transport and initial processing of waste wood and transport to other use (eg surfacing). Emissions relating to the further processing of waste wood in other sectors, such as biomass, panelboard or animal bedding are not included and are subject to separate sector-specific analysis.

While the timber industry’s footprint is very low compared to other manufacturing industries such as UK steel production, which is responsible for 12 million tonnes CO2e (2.7% of UK emissions), the Roadmap sets out a pathway for achieving zero emissions by 2050.

Richard Coulson, chair of the WRA, said: “We are very pleased to support this report which highlights the critical role that waste wood plays in the circular economy.

“We will continue to look in more detail at the carbon footprint of the waste wood sector and how our industry can support the UK move towards net zero. We have set up a net zero sub group within the WRA which is currently progressing this work.”

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