Responsibly sourced wood & paper

At B&Q, we recognise how important forests are to our climate, to wildlife and to the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.

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We require high standards for the wood and paper products that we buy, whether sourced from a forest or a softwood plantation.

If wood is sourced responsibly, it can be regarded as renewable as new trees will thrive where an older tree has been felled. If wood is used in the fabric of our buildings or in furniture, the carbon the tree has captured is locked up for the long term. A forest can be carefully managed sustainably for the long term, providing income for local people as well as habitats for wildlife.

Illegal and irresponsible logging can cause immeasurable damage. When rainforests are cleared, the land may be used for palm oil production or for cattle ranching, often employing far fewer people and, in the case of palm oil, fires can pollute the air over a massive area. In cooler climates, irresponsible logging may damage local wildlife.

In 1991, we published our first timber policy. We had been challenged to prove that we were not sourcing wood from threatened rainforests – and we realised that we needed to find out where our wood was from.

In 1994, we were a founding partner of the Forest Stewardship Council®. FSC is a groundbreaking chain of custody system that checks the forests where wood is harvested are being managed responsibly, and then tracks that wood through the ‘chain’ of processors and manufacturers to us. We can pass this certification to our trade customers if needed so that they can meet their customers’ responsible sourcing requirements as well.

We’re committed to helping protect forests for us all and to responsibly sourcing all of the wood and paper products that we buy by 2025.

Working towards 100% responsibly sourced wood and paper

We are working towards a target where 100% of the wood, paper and card in the products we buy is responsibly sourced. This means that the wood or paper is either FSC® certified with full chain of custody, PEFC certified with full chain of custody or from a proven recycled source. We have been responsibly sourcing wood and paper products for over 30 years.

  • FSC® and PEFC certification requirements include rigorous checks to ensure that the wood does not damage ancient forests, harm wildlife or jeopardise the future of communities who depend on the forest.

  • Respecting the rights of indigenous people is an important requirement for the FSC® and PEFC standards.

  • If wood is harvested as part of a carefully prepared management plan, biodiversity can be maintained, and the forest protected for the long term.

  • If it is claimed that a product is made from recycled materials, we must have 3rd party independent verification to prove that the material is genuine recycled waste.

Chain of Custody: How to be Sure

B&Q have full chain of custody with FSC® and PEFC for all certified wood and paper products.

The only way to be assured that wood is felled responsibly is through a checking process, which tracks the wood from being cut through to its final destination. This is called a chain of custody.

The chain of custody process checks the flow of material through each stage of the supply chain. This requires each actor in the supply chain to complete a detailed audit and prove that they are keeping track of ‘certified material’ and that the volume of certified material is tracked up the chain.

When a tree is harvested, both the stump and tree are given a number and this is logged as part of the ‘forestry management certificate’ required by FSC® or PEFC.

When the tree arrives at a sawmill, this number is recorded and linked to the number on the mill's own chain of custody certificate.

At every subsequent stage, numbers are recorded. This gives a paper trail that provides schemes like FSC® the ability to track back exactly where the wood has come from - and check that the trees were felled responsibly from a well-managed forest.

B&Q has full chain of custody with both FSC® and PEFC. Look out for our chain of custody number on the till receipt.

Email if you'd like to know more about the certification process.

B&Q’s FSC® Product Group Schedule for certificate number: SA-COC-008049.

B&Q’s PEFC Product Group Schedule for certificate number: SA-PEFC-COC-008049.

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The Woodland Trust

In 2022 B&Q launched a partnership with the Woodland Trust to help with the restoration, protection and creation of native woodland at their Snaizeholme site in North Yorkshire. The partnership will complement our responsible sourcing targets by helping to protect native forests and improve our impact on the world around us.

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