New technology will revolutionise due diligence in the timber industry

Due diligence describes a toolbox of techniques that guarantee your timber comes from a legal source. It’s an ever-evolving art, and a vital one in ensuring a healthy, sustainable, and ethical timber industry. So, it’s good news that scientific testing, which has the potential to vastly improve the accuracy of sourcing checks, is becoming a common occurrence.

Isotopic analysis is the technique in question, and it is able to pinpoint the source of a piece of timber to within a 10 km radius. This innovative new technology checks the isotopic signature of wood products against a database of isotopic signatures collected from a variety of locations. What is an isotopic signature? We won’t bore you with the science – suffice it to say that each one is often compared to a material’s “fingerprint”.

Isotopic analysis isn’t the be-all and end-all of due diligence. Traditional techniques such as supply chain mapping, volume assessment, field-based supplier evaluation, and stakeholder consultation, are all valuable methods for making sure your timber comes from where it’s claimed.

Xiao Ma, the Timber Trade Federation’s sustainability manager, notes that research conducted by Forest Trends on a number of governmental agencies responsible for the enforcement of the EUTR, found a strong up-take of isotopic analysis. She said:

“half of the 21 reported countries are using isotopic analysis in their enforcement activities to prove their sourcing claims. Scientific testing is increasingly becoming mainstream, and it is a powerful tool to identify gaps in due diligence.”

At Quercus, we’re very confident in the ethical and sustainable sourcing of our timber. One of the reasons for that is that we work with agents who undertake a wide range of due diligence checks on everything we import, guaranteeing that we can offer our customers a product they can be confident in.

If you’re looking to purchase timber for an upcoming project and want to be sure about its origins, give us a call on 0845 50 50 311 – we’re always happy to discuss your needs and point you in the right direction.