The Scottish Timber Trade Association promotes high standards of product and service quality via the timber industry’s new Conduct Assurance Scheme. STTA Secretary David Sulman Explains....
One of the key objectives of the Scottish Timber Trade Association, (STTA), the Scottish arm of the Timber Trade Federation is not only to promote the use of wood and wood products, but also to promote consumer confidence in its Member Companies and the products and services they provide.
One of the principal objectives of STTA Member Companies is to provide products that are fit for purpose in every respect. This may be demonstrated by various means, for example by compliance with product standards, British, European or International Standards and/or third party certification schemes.
The Timber Trade Federation has spent some 18 months developing its Conduct Assurance Scheme, which is more popularly known as the Code of Conduct. Its launch marks a significant milestone for the timber industry in the UK and it brings benefits to specifiers, users and suppliers of wood and wood products alike, by instilling confidence in products and the companies providing them.
Consumer protection is an integral part of our daily lives, both privately and professionally, and the development of a Code of Conduct within the UK timber industry, which has an annual value of some £2.4 billion, brings timber in line with other major business sectors.
As in other walks of life, there is always a possibility that a dishonest or irresponsible trader may take advantage of consumers by providing inappropriate goods or services, and whilst this may provide the disreputable trader with a short term commercial advantage, all too often, problems arise and in the case of timber products, it is the reputation of timber and wood products that is harmed.
At a time when sustainable development is at, or near the top of many agendas in the construction industry, wood and wood products have an important role to play, making a unique contribution to sustainable development and sustainable construction. Wood is the only truly sustainable widely used construction material in the UK. Timber and wood products, whether produced in Scotland or overseas, can increasingly demonstrate their environmental credentials through responsible purchasing and certification schemes, including chain of custody certification, which is gathering momentum in the UK. Timber in general has a good story to tell and will continue to make a valuable economic, social and environmental contribution for generations to come.
The Conduct Assurance Scheme
The Conduct Assurance Scheme, which is supported by all Members of the Scottish Timber Trade Association, aims to achieve the following;
The Conduct Assurance Scheme comprises the Code of Conduct and four Codes of Practice, relating to softwood, hardwood, panel products and environment. The Code of Conduct sets the principles by which STTA/TTF Members agree to conduct their businesses. This involves a commitment to trading fairly and responsibly.
Members will not:
Codes of Practice
Members are committed to conducting their business in a professional manner, selling their services and products in accordance with the relevant Codes of Practice, which cover softwood, hardwood, panel products and environmental matters.
The Codes of Practice aim to assist Members in the promotion of their company’s efforts to correctly supply accurately described and marked products and to ensure the exposure of anyone found to be breaching the Code as a result of wilful product mis-labelling or mis-marking.
In addition to these individual Commodity Codes, all Member Companies aim to minimise their impact on the environment and source their timber and timber products responsibly, in line with industry policies, as promoted by Forests Forever, the TTF Environmental organisation.
The Conduct Assurance Scheme is intended to maintain and wherever possible, improve the standards of conduct within the industry, by assuring all who deal with STTA Members that they are conducting their business with reputable organisations.
All STTA Members are committed to providing clear, responsive and user-friendly procedures in dealing with complaints. Should this fail to resolve a problem then a customer can initiate a complaints procedure, which operates in association with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. This ensures a fully independent procedure for investigating any complaints lodged under the Code of Conduct.
Member companies are required to provide adequate training and instruction to their employees and agents, bringing the contents and application of the Code and its principles to their attention and requiring such employees and agents to carry out their duties in accordance with the Code. They are also required to make known and publicise the existence of the Code and where appropriate, provide details of the complaints procedure.
Customers will have the confidence that should they feel that they have been let down by a Member Company they will have a guaranteed mechanism for having their complaint investigated. Parts of the industry not covered by this Assurance Scheme cannot give their customers this vital guarantee, supported by independent arbitration.
David Sulman, STTA Secretary, says, “The key message to all specifiers and users of wood and wood products in Scotland is to specify and obtain supplies only from the specialist timber and wood products suppliers who are members of the Scottish Timber Trade Association and who therefore support and comply with the TTF Code of Conduct Assurance Scheme and its supporting Codes of Practice”.
The Timber Trade Federation website is at www.ttf.co.uk