SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT
In 1999 Coillte formally signed up to the concept of Sustainable Forest Management that has been adopted by many states as a principle by which European countries will manage their forests in the future. The key principle of SFM established by the Helsinki Process (1993) sets down a definition for Sustainable Forest Management as follows: “The stewardship and use of forests in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological and social functions, at local, national and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”
In Ireland the certification of forests to the FSC® standard has progressed rapidly. First audited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 2000, and celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010, Coillte continues to received its FSC Certificate year on year. Coillte’s forests have been independently inspected and evaluated according to environmental, social and economic principles, and criteria agreed by the Forest Stewardship Council. Coillte is certified by the Soil Association and their Certification Number is SGS-FM/COC-0706. The Forest Service in Northern Ireland is also certified by SGS and their Certification Number is SGS-FM/COC-0455. Private woodland owners have risen to the challenge of achieving FSC certification. In 2005 a Tipperary based forest management company joined the INDFOR group certification scheme and provides Chain of custody for private growers managed by Tipperary Forestry Services. Their certification number is SA-FM/COC-1403.
MEDITE and SMARTPLY are inherently environmentally friendly. MDF and OSB are made from timber, the only renewable and sustainable building material. It has low energy consumption and highly efficient thermal insulation properties. It also has negative net CO2 emissions, a property unique to wood products.
MEDITE uses only sustainable supplies of softwoods and wood residues or sawmill co-products derived from managed forests. These now include approximately 80 per cent sawmill co-products/wood residues from the sawmilling sector and 20 per cent small diameter pulp wood from forests managed by Coillte. Even among timber-based products, MEDITE is exceptionally resource-efficient. Its principal raw materials are wood residues; sawmill co-products and pulpwood from managed forests. MEDITE’s qualities as a product also conserve resources. Its consistency helps to minimise waste, easy machining capabilities reduce energy inputs and its smooth finish decreases the requirement for undercoats, paints and other surface treatments. As a company, MEDITE is extremely aware of its environmental responsibilities and is accredited to ISO 14001 environmental management system. Today we generate 90% of our thermal energy from biomass resources.
SMARTPLY is among the most environmentally efficient building materials on the market, it is made from sustainable, fast-growing timber: we only use forest thinning's of new-growth pine and spruce, including the tops which are not used to make any other wood-based product. This is one of the main reasons why SMARTPLY is increasingly being used instead of plywood, which by contrast uses large logs cut from old growth forests. SMARTPLY uses far less energy and resources to make than steel, concrete and other building materials. Over 75% of the energy we use in the manufacturing process comes from wood residues and recovered wood. Burning wood by-products as an energy source instead of fossil fuels increases the CO2 benefit still further. All the timber used to make SMARTPLY is carefully harvested to preserve the forest’s biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes. No long-distance transport is involved as all SMARTPLY is manufactured near to its source in Waterford, Ireland. We use pine and spruce thinning's, which are cut to length, debarked and made into uniform strands. This process uses virtually all of the wood; while all by-products such as bark and sawdust are recycled for energy and horticultural uses, and combustion gases are scrubbed and burned.