New timber industry campaign to reduce CO2 in the built environment

Designers are being urged to use more timber in the design of UK buildings to meet the government's net zero target.

The Wood CO2ts less campaign aims to raise awareness of timber's environmental credentials and highlight how using wood from sustainably managed forests is one of the simplest ways to help reduce carbon emissions.

Members of the timber industry, collaborating on the campaign including Wood for Good and industry bodies Swedish Wood, Confor, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), Structural Timber Association (STA) and British Woodworking Federation (BWF). 

The architecture profession is one of the most vocal in the built environment about tackling climate change. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has already embedded a sustainability strategy into its Plan of Work and has launched its own 2030 Climate Challenge, designed to help designers meet net zero for new and retrofitted buildings by 2030.

Wood CO2ts less is an opportunity to celebrate the excellent use of timber already present in building design across the UK whilst inspiring future projects to consider wood first as a building material for its low-carbon properties.

Sarah Virgo, Wood for Good campaign manager, said: "The government set a target for the UK to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 but it's not feasible for all sectors of the economy to become carbon neutral. To reach net zero, we need to compensate for these emissions by finding ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere. The simplest way to contribute to this reduction is to consider wood first, instead of other materials.

"If we are to meet government targets and reduce climate change, we must act now. Everyone involved with the design and construction of a building, new or old, can play their part in tackling the climate emergency."

Andrew Carpenter, STA chief executive, said: "The shortage of housing in the UK is an issue that has been acknowledged by successive governments; we must ensure that all new build homes are delivered in a high-quality and sustainable manner. Furthermore, to deliver the volume demanded with the urgency suggested, then this is also achievable by using engineered timber solutions that are predominantely manufactured offsite – this also alleviates the acknowledged skill-shortage faced by the construction industry."

Dave Hopkins, TTF chief executive, said: "As we move along the recovery roadmap, the industry needs to make better choices now. The RIBA has already taken on the challenge by moving the goalposts to achieve change by 2030. We do not need to wait until 2050. We have the skills and resources available to create a better built environment and timber is at the heart of it all."

To learn more about the role wood plays in the built environment, including design and environment data for specifying timber, and to explore best practice examples of building with timber, visit

Follow the #woodCO2tsless hashtag on social media to join the discussion.

Tags (Specialism/Topics)

Sustainable materials