Timber Purchasing Policy
Norfolk Oak have ambitious but rigid environmental policies deliberately designed to set us apart from the crowd. Having travelled across the world searching for the finest timbers, we have witnessed some truly shocking and surprising practices which we would never have believed if we hadn't seen them with our own eyes. These offences are not just against nature, but against the human and animal inhabitants as well.
Our first step towards making Norfolk Oak an environmentally friendly company was to gain FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) certification, which we did in 2006 (Licence number FSC® C007915). To ensure these standards are adhered to, we travelled to every other saw mill we buy from. The reason why we wanted to part of forest certification is that it was set up to improve the management of forests across the globe.
The main foundations of forest certification include:
In the USA, we use three Amish saw mills, who supply us with some of the finest hardwoods on the planet. Their ethics and code of conduct need no introduction or certification. As far as sustainability goes, replanting outstripped cutting by 15% between 1997 and 2007. The US Forestry Service estimates that further increases of 15 - 20 % are expected in hardwood stock through to 2030. Last year 2.3 billion trees were planted in the States, and there are 483 million acres of commercial forest alone, plus 350 million acres of privately owned forest. Sustainability is therefore not an issue, nor are environmental or social problems.
Africa, however, is a whole different ball game, hence our completely inflexible attitude to certification. The same is true for South America, although there are many more mills with certification than there are in Africa. Any other speciality timbers, like teak for example, must again have certification. For any timber which is not from either France, Germany or the USA, we will only purchase certified timber. There is no wiggle room here.
Having crafted organic, sustainably sourced furniture, the last thing we want to do is wrap it up in tonnes of plastic. Not only does this completely go against how we run our company, it also has a negative effect on our oiled worktops. We believe using simple and traditional, large blankets to wrap up our furniture protects them just as well as its plastic counterpart, but more importantly, it means that there is less waste produced by us. Using blankets also means our customers don’t have a load of plastic left over to bin!
With our own brand new delivery vans, our furniture only ever leaves the workshop to be delivered to our customers. We have no depots in other countries either, keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible.
At Norfolk Oak, we recycle everything that is not used in the manufacturing of our products. Nothing is wasted. Almost 100% is used, either as fuel to keep the workshops warm, or made in to hardwood briquettes, which are the perfect sustainable bio-fuel. We sell these at around £46 per 100KG, and they are simply amazing. Timber arrives in giant bundles with thick metal bands which are kept and recycled, and the money we recover from these goes to ‘Help for Heroes’. All of our equipment is state-of-the-art, with energy efficient electric motors, and are fully maintained to keep them running as perfectly as possible. Every vehicle we have is less than four years old, and is always serviced to keep it running efficiently. Many of our lights work on PIR switches so when they are not in use, they turn themselves off. We have a culture of keeping things turned off to save energy. That whole culture is about lean and innovative manufacturing. It began as a way to save money, but it is now integrated into every part of our company as a way to stop unnecessary waste.