Green light for new sustainable policies

The City of Edinburgh Council is top of the tree among Scottish local authorities after approving new sustainable procurement and timber policies.

Today (24 January) the Council's Policy and Strategy Committee agreed to sign up to a WWF pledge to ensure it only purchases timber and wood-derived products from sustainable and legal sources.

There are three levels of pledge - gold, silver and bronze - and the council is the first Scottish local authority to make the gold WWF pledge.

The detailed report for the new Sustainable Procurement Policy and new Sustainable Timber Policy details how the council will ensure it buys goods in a way that brings about social and economic benefits whilst minimising environmental damage.

The WWF initiative is asking local authorities across the country to make a commitment to only buy wood products, including paper, furniture, fencing and doors, which come from recycled and certified sources, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The council will set up a recording and monitoring system to ensure forest products procured meet the requirements of its new Sustainable Timber Policy.

WWF research shows that many local authorities are unaware that the source of the timber they use could be supporting the unsustainable and illegal timber trade. This threatens rainforests, and contributes to illegal logging resulting in habitat loss for species such as orangutans, and threatening the livelihood and well being of communities who rely on the forests in places such as Indonesia and the Congo Basin.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader, said: "We are determined that the City of Edinburgh Council meets the highest possible environmental standards.

"By adopting the WWF's gold pledge, Edinburgh will be leading the way in Scotland, to safeguard sustainable forestry and combat illegal logging, and so protecting our environment for future generations."

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland, said: "By joining up to the pledge, the City of Edinburgh Council is helping to set the standard which all local authorities can follow. If local government, businesses or even consumers buy any wood or paper products that aren't certified then they could, unwittingly, be helping fuel unsustainable and illegal logging activities across the globe.

"Buying FSC certified or equivalent products is the only way to be certain that the interests of the forests, the species that live in them, and the people that rely on them to make a living are being considered."

Note to editors:

The WWF pledge campaign has been promoted successfully in Scotland by a partnership between WWF and the Sustainable Scotland Network (a programme of Keep Scotland Beautiful), working with local authority officers across Scottish local authorities.

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