Timber’s future remains bright despite turbulent times

More than 130 industry leaders came together yesterday to discuss the state of the timber trade at Timber Development’s UK’s (TDUK) Global Market Conference – in what is the most important event in the calendar year for timber suppliers.

While speakers warned of stormy weather amidst gloomy economic projections for 2023, they also said that ‘tomorrow will come’, with the industry set to take on major growth as a low-carbon solution to our built environment.

Attendees were welcomed by TDUK chief executive David Hopkins, who led proceedings with an introduction to this exciting new organisation, which set to take a central place in the ecosystem as it embraces the entire supply chain.

This was followed by presentations on timber supply from TDUK head of technical and trade Nick Boulton on the UK market, and Paulo Pupo (ABIMCI) and Clive Pennington (European Panels Federation) on plywood production and supply in Brazil and the EU.

Discussions of supply concluded with a panel discussion from leading softwood producers Keith Ainslie, James Jones & Sons Ltd (Scotland), Mike Glennon, Glennon Brothers (Ireland), and Markus Henningsson, SCA Wood (Sweden).

The conference was capped off by the Construction Products Association (CPA) economics director Noble Francis, who provided an exclusive presentation to TDUK members of the CPA’s draft Autumn Forecast.

TDUK chief executive, David Hopkins, says:

“The last couple of years have thrown some considerable challenges at our industry, with the pandemic, invasion of Ukraine and political instability placing the market on a rollercoaster, where highs are to be matched by lows.

“This coming winter looks no easier with energy security likely to be a key concern for businesses and households across Europe, as spiking interest rates, inflation, and labour availability create a challenging business environment.

“However, against this gloomy outlook, the conclusion from the conference was that while there are some tough times ahead for timber amidst wider economic woes, but their remains a bright future ahead for our industry.

“There is also room for optimism on a policy level, with our speakers outlining the increasing recognition of timber as a climate change solution for the built environment from both the UK Government and EU Commission.

“Through our new organisation, Timber Development UK, we are creating an opportunity to significantly advance timbers position in the market, as we build strong connections between suppliers and specifiers.

“After such a successful event yesterday, we are looking forward to further TDUK events in 2023. Keep an eye on our social media and website to find out more.”