John Dye, president of the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (Timcon) has praised the industry’s work to prepare for the UK’s final exit from the EU at the end of the year.
Speaking in his address to Timcon’s first-ever online AGM, Dye said that despite the extraordinary challenges of the past 12 months, including a ‘lost seven months’ to the Covid-19 pandemic, the wooden pallet and packaging business – including Timcon’s own membership and members of the National Association of Pallet Distributors (NAPD) and the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme (UKWMMP) -–had continued to work hard to ensure that stocks of fully-compliant wood packaging material would be available in time for 1 January 2021.
Timcon has worked closely with Defra and the Brexit Wood Packaging Working Group throughout, said Dye, adding that Timcon will now run a monthly survey of industry compliance levels until December and share the results with the ministry.
Meanwhile, the UK Government had indicated it will continue to take a risk-based approach to enforcing ISPM15 after Brexit. Timcon is liaising with its European counterparts to ask plant health enforcement authorities in EU countries for clarity that they would continue to do the same.
“We will be continuing to work with EU national associations and our colleagues at Fefpeb to look to ensure that the pragmatic incoming inspections for goods coming into the UK is reciprocated in the EU,” said Dye.
Stuart Hex, secretary general of Timcon, said close cooperation with government and businesses throughout the lead up to Brexit and the pandemic lockdown has led to increasing understanding by politicians and supply chain about the essential role of wooden packaging and pallets, noting in particular the growing recognition of their part in keeping supplies of food, drink and pharmaceutical goods moving throughout the crisis.
“Timcon helped secure essential worker status for its members, and get similar recognition for sawmilling,” said Hex. “It has also continued to represent the industry in regular conference calls and issued a protocol document to guide the industry in making workspaces Covid safe. Our work during the pandemic has been shared with colleagues in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa.”
On the green economy, Dye reminded members that Timcon is actively promoting the reuse of timber pallets and packaging as a key USP in the circular economy and helping businesses reduce their impact on the environment.
“By using wooden packaging materials – and more specifically by reusing them rather than just recycling them – businesses will be helping the country achieve the net zero target timeline the UK Government set of 2050 and indeed the Scottish Government’s target of 2045,” he said.
TIMCON is also supporting the recently launched Wood4Good Co2ts Less campaign, which emphasises the use of wood in reducing CO2 emissions and fighting climate change.
Dye also gave an overview of recent developments in packaging waste, harmonisation of repair regulations and global industry cooperation; while Timcon past president, Gil Covey, and Marck MacAuley, director of IBEC – Ireland's largest business membership organisation, gave updates respectively on European matters, and the current backlog of felling licences in Ireland.
“With these and other ongoing issues that have required our attention, this has been an incredibly busy 12 months for Timcon. This has been thanks to the continuing hard work of Timcon’s executive committee, our active members and many other partners throughout the industry.”