PEFC UK Chairman Appointed OBE
6 January 2012 News
Peter Latham, the Chairman of leading timber merchants James Latham plc and PEFC UK and recently elected PEFC International Board Member, has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in the New Year's Honours List.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is one of the British orders of chivalry and Peter's award of OBE is in recognition for services to the UK wood industry and over 20 years' dedication to sustainable timber sourcing and forest management.
As well as heading one of Britain's oldest timber companies – James Latham began importing hardwoods into Liverpool in 1757 – Peter Latham is a former Chairman of Forests Forever (the environmental committee of the Timber Trade Federation), a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Forestry Association (the world's longest established international forestry organization) and Chairman of PEFC UK.
Throughout his long career in the timber industry, Peter Latham has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable forest management by advocating that the UK timber industry should commit to only sourcing legal and sustainable timber products and he has long understood that forests contain some of the most valuable and bio-diverse ecosystems on the planet. He has constantly advocated that if forests are to continue to deliver the full range of benefits that people and nature rely on, they need to be conserved and managed properly.
Under his personal direction, James Latham plc developed an industry-leading responsible procurement policy to ensure that they only purchase timber from legal and sustainable sources. James Latham plc was also an early adopter of timber certification and was one of the first to implement both FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) Chain of Custody certification.
Peter Latham's contribution to the development of PEFC UK has been huge. Real progress can be measured in terms of demand for chain of custody certification. When he took up his position on the PEFC UK Board, less than 100 companies were certified and now the number stands at over 1,300. The effect of this is that UK consumers are now able to purchase an increasing range of timber and paper products bearing the PEFC logo as an assurance of legal and sustainable sourcing.
Peter Latham has also generously given his time and experience to support both public and private sector measures to ensure that Britain leads the way in responsible timber procurement. He helped develop and implement the UK Government's timber procurement policy – CPET (Central Point of Expertise on Timber) and has led several DFID-funded (Department for International Development) timber trade delegations to Africa and East Asia, to better understand the issues surrounding illegally logged timber, the environmental damage it causes and its impact on developing nation's economies and governance.