Scotland Excel

Case Study: A walk through the wood

Scotland Excel’s framework ensures all timber used by councils is from legal and sustainable sources.

Building and Timber framework

Scotland Excel’s third generation Building and Timber framework is a great example of how sustainability practices can be embedded in procurement. The previous framework was recognised by WWF in their 2012 report ‘Barking up the right tree?’ for helping Scotland’s local authorities procure responsibly sourced timber. Renewing the contract provided an opportunity to take this a step further.

Contract owner, Danielle Pettigrew, worked closely with council representatives to develop a procurement strategy that focused on sustainable practice. Engagement with bodies such as Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) was critical to achieving this.

Danielle attended a two day field trip to a forest in Lockerbie hosted by PEFC to gain insight into the whole life cycle of timber production, including the importance of planning, chemical usage, wildlife protection and forest management. Danielle saw how zero waste is achievable by selling bark and sawdust to other industries. The field trip also provided a forum to discuss legislative and certification developments and identify how procurement strategies can incorporate environmental priorities.

A key consideration was balancing the appropriate certification requirements with the opportunity for suppliers of all sizes, particularly local SMEs, to bid for the tender. Engaging with CPET confirmed that there were two ways to evidence legal and sustainable timber sources—a validated chain of custody or proof of origin of timber from forest to end product. This provided flexibility for smaller companies to participate in the tender.

During evaluation, bidders were scored on their end-to-end management of the timber supply chain. In partnership with Scotland Excel, CPET played a key role in the evaluation of bids by assessing timber evidence submitted. This collaborative approach and national framework means that councils can purchase sustainably sourced timber which meets policy requirements without the time or expense of running further checks.

The Building and Timber framework began on 1 April 2015. It continues to support the good practice that was already in place among councils to purchase legal and sustainable timber in accordance with the UK Government’s Timber Procurement Policy (TPP). The previous framework supported 23 local authorities in their pledge to WWF’s ‘What Wood You Choose?’ initiative which enabled councils to aim for bronze, silver or gold status in sustainable timber and paper procurement.

In March 2014, Fife Council became the first local authority in Scotland to attain the WWF Gold Award.

Their Category Manager for Construction Materials, Liz Mcintyre explains: “By working closely with Scotland Excel we have been able to drive compliance and promote responsible sourcing practices. There are clear benefits of engaging with suppliers who are committed to quality and promoting good practice.”

Although the initiative has now closed, WWF is still committed to sustainable timber sourcing and will support councils that have already signed up. Visit for further information on the WWF Forest Campaign.