Beautiful and resilient,
hardwoods are highly coveted for home furnishings, furniture and
construction. However, they are also frequently associated with
unsustainable forestry practices and deforestation. Now, a British-based
company, Woodlink UK, offers a raft of sustainably sourced and certified
hardwoods, including a new and innovative product: sustainable,
plantation-grown Lyptus® timber.
Founded in 2007 and based in Halstead, Essex, Woodlink UK was previously
part of Germany's Anders Group timber specialists. Since January 2011 it
is wholly owned and managed by Cyril Williams. The company specializes
in the import and distribution of quality, sustainable timber including
walnut, white oak, maple, cherry, ash and tulipwood, and now Lyptus®.
Its customers include wood importers, timber merchants, builders and
high-class cabinet makers, among others.
Sustainability is an important part of the company's ethos and strategy.
Woodlink UK only trades in environmentally-friendly products from
sustainably-managed sources. It does not trade in tropical woods or
exotic species. All its sawn timber is sourced from North America.
The company has been PEFC certified from the outset. Implementing PEFC
certification across its operations was a relatively straightforward
exercise as the previous parent company, Anders, was already certified,
enabling Woodlink UK to build upon already existing processes and
audits. Today, 70-80% of the products it trades in are certified. The
entire stock of Lyptus® tropical timber is PEFC certified.
Hailing from plantations in near the east coast of Brazil owned and
operated by local company Fibria, Lyptus® is a naturally occurring
hybrid of two species of Eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus grandis and
Eucalyptus urophylla. It has been developed for quick harvesting –
typically 15-20 years – and offers many of the advantages of traditional
tropical timber – durability, weather-resistance. Crucially, it is grown
on responsibly managed plantations making it a good alternative to
traditional hardwoods such as oak, cherry and mahogany that take decades
longer to mature. The plantations are certified to Brazil's Cerflor
national sustainable forestry standard which is recognized by PEFC
International. Another important feature of this wood is that it is
being grown on plantations which are interspersed with re-introduced
native species from the Atlantic Coastal Forests of Brazil. Thus, at the
same time as offering a sustainable supply of wood, these plantations
are also helping to restore the once severely depleted native forest to
Once harvested, the Lyptus® lumber and decking are produced by the
Aracruz Produtos de Madeira S.A. (APM) sawmill, a joint venture between
Fibria and Weyerhaeuser.
A strong, hardy, durable, rich-coloured wood, Lyptus® lends itself to
many external uses, including as decking and external frames among
others, as well as joinery. It aesthetic appeal was further confirmed at
this year's Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in London,
where it was a key feature of the 'Monaco Garden' – sponsored by the
Principality of Monaco under the patronage of Prince Albert – one of
this year's Gold Medal Winners. The garden's eye-catching Lyptus® wood
decking proved a particular hit with the judges and visiting public
alike. Since the Flower Show, Woodlink UK has reported a substantial
increase in demand for Lyptus® wood decking accompanied by a new-found
awareness of sustainability issues and the importance of certification.
More recently, in August 2011, Woodlink UK was short-listed for a TTJ
Market Development Award. Sponsored by Timber Expo 2011 and Trada
Technology, the TTJ Market Development Awards recognize excellence and a
commitment to sustainability in the timber industry. Now in their 15th
year, the 2011 TTJ Awards will be presented on 15 September 2011, in
London, UK. Woodlink has been nominated for its PEFC-Certified Lyptus®
PEFC certification has certainly yielded benefits for Woodlink UK.
According to company owner Cyril Williams, being able to offer certified
products gives the company a market advantage. Customers are
increasingly demanding certified products from sustainably managed
sources; what is more, they are often prepared to pay a premium for such
products. Similarly, certified products give Woodlink UK access to new
customers and sectors. For example, architects and members of the
building profession are increasingly insisting on using certified
products only. In the current market and commercial environment, this
places a company like Woodlink UK in a more favourable position than
other potentially non-certified suppliers. Now, the introduction of
fully PEFC-certified Lyptus® wood is set to strengthen this position
further. By offering a rapidly renewable, fully sustainable, viable
alternative to tropical timber, Woodlink UK is in a unique position to
be able to respond to customer and market demand while at the same time
making an important contribution to sustainable forest management.
In addition to supplying customers with wood and tropical timber
products, Woodlink UK is also involved in raising awareness among its
customers and members of its supply chain of the importance and benefits