Timber policy

Forest Commodities: Timber

Last updated: 19/05/2016


The increasing demand for timber and timber products is putting significant pressure on forest resources and is driving deforestation in some of the most sensitive regions of the world. The UK is one of the largest consumers of timber in the EU, with the vast majority of our timber from imports, so we have a clear responsibility to ensure that the timber used in Tesco products is from both legal and sustainable sources. We also need to ensure that paper and pulp that is used in our packaging and in our office and store supplies is legal and sustainable.

Our approach

Tesco’s timber sourcing policy and risk assessment

To ensure that we are sourcing timber products responsibly, we have had, for a number of years, our own Wood and Wood Products Sourcing Policy, which sets out our commitments to purchasing timber and timber products only from legal and sustainable sources.

We recently reviewed our Policy and strengthened our commitment to sustainable forests; by 2020, ALL wood-fibre materials in our products will be from recycled sources OR traceable to forest sources that are independently certified to a credible standard (FSC or PEFC). Where certified wood fibres are not available, sources must meet our existing Tesco Wood and Wood Products Sourcing Policy, verified by an expert 3rd party pending the development of a certified source.

As part of our due diligence processes we carry out a legality and sustainability risk assessment of all sources of wood and paper. This assessment – using our Forest Risk Tool – flags risks in advance of any purchase, including potential risks associated with tree species (for example the presence of species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), or country risk (for example potential governance concerns highlighted by Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index). Based on the risk assessment we decide on the appropriate level of further due diligence and mitigation required, ensuring compliance to our obligations under the EU Timber Regulations.

All high-risk tropical hardwood used in our products must be FSC certified or from sources having a memorandum of understanding with the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT). All Tesco wooden garden furniture is FSC certified or from a forest working with TFT to achieve a credible forest certification.

Collaborating with wider industry

The issues around deforestation go beyond our supply chains however, and our long-term goal is to contribute to developing the right conditions for a strong sustainable timber market. To achieve this, we believe that global consumer goods companies must work together.

We do this through the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which agreed a resolution pledging to mobilise resources within the respective businesses to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. We have also supported the development of the CGF Paper, Pulp & Packaging guidelines.

In 2014, we joined the WWF-UK timber campaign and committed to sourcing 100% sustainable timber by 2020 and to engaging with policy makers to ensure that the legal framework governing timber in the UK is robust and effective.

Commitments and performance

  • We are committed to purchasing timber and timber products for our UK market from only legal sustainable sources.
  • The six million till rolls we use per year in the UK are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • The Tesco Media Publishing Centre, which prints the Tesco Direct catalogue, flyers and leaflets, is fully certified by FSC and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
  • 59% of our timber sales are FSC certified products.*
  • Examples of certified products currently sold include:
    • Household tissues such as toilet tissues, kitchen towel, facial tissues and wipes
    • All Tesco garden furniture
    • BBQ briquettes
    • Stationary products such as notebooks, writing pads, computer paper, cards and envelopes, puzzle books, printer/computer paper
    • Wooden frames, card games
    • Our own Carousel range of wooden toys

* This figure has been calculated using the sales data for total timber products and our FSC total sales data covering the period Jan 1st 2014 – July 1st 2015.


Fibre Sourcing Policy for Man Made Cellulosic Fabrics

Our Approach

Man-made cellulosic fibres derived from wood pulp have a wide range of product applications for clothing and textiles used across our business, including Viscose filament, Viscose staple fibre, Rayon, Lyocell, Tencel®(Lyocell), Modal and Micro Modal.

Tesco is committed to working with industry and stakeholders towards developing sustainable supply chains for cellulosic fibers beginning within our clothing supply chain. To do this we will:

  1. Map the use of cellulose based fabrics within our clothing supply chain.
  2. Support Canopy to achieve its objectives of working to eliminate, by 2017, fabrics made of dissolving pulp sourced from:
    a. Endangered species habitat and ancient and endangered forests[1] areas such as the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests; tropical forests and peatlands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa.
    b. Controversial sources, including from companies that are logging forests illegally, from tree plantations established through the conversion of natural forests; or from areas being logged in contravention of indigenous peoples’ rights.
    c. Companies that do not acknowledge the rights of First Nations, indigenous, and communities’ rights to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before new logging rights are allocated or plantations are developed, and remediate human rights violations through a transparent, accountable, and agreeable dispute resolution process.
    d. Harvesting not certified to a credible independent, third party standard. CanopyStyle preferences FSC.
  3. Collaborate with Canopy to encourage the exploration and support development of fibre sources that reduce environmental and social impacts for example agricultural residues such as flax, bagasse nor hemp), and support collaborative and visionary solutions that protect these remaining ancient and endangered forests, like the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement[2] in North America’s coastal rainforests.
  4. In line with our wider Responsible Sourcing of Wood and Paper Products Policy we are committed to ensuring, by 2020, that all wood-fibre materials used in our own brand products come from recycled sources or are traceable to a forest source that has been independently certified to a credible standard.
  5. Should we find that any of our fabrics are being sourced from ancient and endangered forests or controversial sources, or are in other way in contravention with this policy, we will engage our suppliers to change practices and/or re-evaluate our relationship with them.

We commit to providing regular updates of our progress on our website www.tescoplc.com.


[1] Ancient and endangered forests are defined as intact forest landscape mosaics, naturally rare forest types, forest types that have been made rare due to human activity, and/or other forests that are ecologically critical for the protection of biological diversity. Ecological components of endangered forests are: Intact forest landscapes; Remnant forests and restoration cores; Landscape connectivity; Rare forest types; Forests of high species richness; Forests containing high concentrations of rare and endangered species; Forests of high endemism; Core habitat for focal species; Forests exhibiting rare ecological and evolutionary phenomena. As a starting point to geographically locate ancient and endangered forests, maps of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and of intact forest landscapes (IFL), can be used and paired with maps of other key ecological values like the habitat range of key endangered species and forests containing high concentrations of terrestrial carbon and High Carbon Stocks (HCS). (The Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments. This has been reviewed by conservation groups, corporations, and scientists such as Dr. Jim Stritholtt, President and Executive Director of the Conservation Biology Institute, and has been adopted by corporations for their forest sourcing policies). Key endangered forests globally are the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests; Coastal Temperate Rainforests of British Columbia, Alaska and Chile; Tropical forests and peat lands of Indonesia, the Amazon and West Africa. For more information on the definitions of ancient and endangered forests, please go to: http://canopyplanet.org/index.php?page=science-behind-the-brand

[2] Conservation solutions are now finalized in the Great Bear Rainforest, located in coastal temperate rainforests that originally covered 0.2% of the planet, and where now less than 25% of the original forests remain. On February 1st, 2016 the Government of British Columbia, First Nations, environmental organizations and the forest industry announced 38% protection in the Great Bear Rainforest and an ecosystem-based management approach that will see 85% of this region off limits to logging.  Provided these agreements hold – sustainable sourcing has been accomplished in this ancient and endangered forest. We encourage ongoing verification of this through renewal of Forest Stewardship Council certification.


For more information contact our corporate responsibility team - cr.enquiries@uk.tesco.com