CPET and Durham County Council
19 December 2009
Durham County Council (DCC), with the aid of CPET and the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (NEIEP), have become one of the first Local Authorities to implement a timber procurement policy which is fully aligned with the UK government policy. A case study of the development and adoption of the policy is available here. Following initial consultations with the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (NEIEP), the NEIEP approached DCC who were keen to examine whether the central government policy could be successfully adopted within the local government context. Both NEIEP and DCC have been champions of sustainable procurement in local government and saw the implementation of a sustainable timber procurement policy as an oppurtity to further promote this agenda.
Using the UK government policy as a template, and with support and feedback from CPET and NEIEP, DCC published the final draft of the Sustainable Timber Procurement Policy in May 2009. The policy states that ‘it is Durham County Council’s policy that all timber and wood derived products are required to be purchased from independently verifiable legal and sustainable sources’. This is in line with the UK government timber procurement policy and as far as possible the partners in the project were keen to ensure a consistency of approach.
The case study of the DCC provides an important and significant example of cross scale consultation and collaboration and demonstrates the key lessons learnt in ensuring a sustainable procurement of timber. It is important that the public sector takes a standardised approach to the market on this issue.
CPET Project manager, Sofie Tind Nielsen commented:
“I am very pleased that Durham County Council has developed a timber procurement policy and has chosen to follow the guidance from the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET). This approach ensures consistency across the public sector and enables CPET to be available to support Durham key personnel and its suppliers and contractors through the process of ensuring compliance and implementation. Too few Local Authorities are ensuring that the timber and wood products they consume is not from illegal sources, leading to deforestation and adding to climate change. Durham is leading the way in addressing these issues with the policy and we are referring to Durham as a very good case for other Local Authorities and public organisations to follow.”
Special mention has to be made to Peter Faill, Durham County Council's Strategic Procurement Manager (Sustainability), and Bill Kirkup, the NEIEP Sustainability Project Manager, who have both shown great leadership to recognise the importance that such a policy can have in ensuring the long term sustainability of supply of timber products through the mobilisation of local government buying power. The simple steps that they have taken to develop and implement the policy demonstrate that this is something that other local authorities can do to ensure they meet sustainable development targets and provide a catalyst for other sustainable procurement policies.