Timber is key to unlocking a green and sustainable future
29 April 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue
“Public perception of timber is unbalanced. People need to be educated about the role that forestry can play in our battle against climate change,” highlighted Conor Fahy.
Conor is one of the speakers in our 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue, on 12 May in Dublin.
Ahead of the Big Day, we spoke to him and other speakers, to learn more about their work, their visions, and the role of certified timber for a more sustainable world.
Conor Fahy is General Manager of ECC Timber Products, Ireland’s largest exporter of sawn and planed timber products. He started working in the company as a Quality Manager after graduating from NUI Galway with a BEng (Hons) in Energy Systems Engineering.
He assisted ECC to become the first Irish Sawmill to obtain PEFC chain of custody certification and has continued to oversee the company’s regular review and upkeep of the PEFC standards.
What sparked your interest in forestry and sustainability? Why did you choose this career?
My father PJ founded ECC Timber Products in 1992. He has grown the company to what it is today through continuous investment and an incredible workforce. Naturally, I have had a keen interest in the business. After completing my degree in college, I joined the team at ECC.
What drives you to stand up for sustainability and sustainable forest management?
Responsible procurement of raw material forms a core element of the company’s day to day management and policies and the company actively promotes sustainable forestry management.
I believe we all have a key part to play in our future. The PEFC certification ensures that our company is maintaining high standards in sustainable forest management.
How can timber help drive the processing industry to greener and greater efficiency?
Like all manufacturing industries, the timber industry has a key role to play in driving greener and greater efficiencies.
ECC celebrates 30 years in business this year. Technology has developed considerably in this period.
I believe the timber processing industry has a huge part to play through continued investment in state-of-the-art energy efficient and sustainable technology.
In addition, forestry and the by-products of the forestry industry have the largest biomass resource. If incentivised properly, biomass by-products have the potential to play a leading role in a green and renewable future.
Is the timber processing industry facing any issues related to sustainability? How could they be solved?
Public perception of timber is unbalanced. People need to be educated about the role that forestry can play in our battle against climate change.
Trees sequester carbon as they grow. Carbon is locked away in timber products that displace carbon-intensive products.
At end of a forest product’s lifecycle, it can be converted into carbon-neutral energy and used for heating and generating electricity.
Timber is key to unlocking a green and sustainable future.
How do you see the role of forest certification in your sector? Can forest certification systems, such as PEFC, make a difference?
I believe forest certification plays a vital role in the timber sector. Retaining PEFC chain of custody certification provides credible assurance to consumers that the products they are purchasing are produced sustainably and meet agreed standards.
The 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue takes place on 12 May in Dublin, Ireland. Sustainability experts from different sectors will discuss the road to net zero and the potential of wood in mitigating climate change. Join us – register now!