Company name: T&G Woodware Ltd
Products certified: kitchen woodware
FSC licence number: FSC-C002465
Licensed since: 1999
Well in advance of our certification date, T&G were in correspondence with WWF personnel who helped drive the FSC project forward. We have been a brand leader in kitchen woodware since 1984, something that incentivised us to act responsibly and make our stance visible long before our customers started to make the FSC mark a stipulation.
T&G are able to offer a range of wood products that we know have bona fide FSC certification, in contrast to unsubstantiated claims sadly still common throughout the market. Integrity is important to T&G and it is disappointing that there are not more producers who are taking a more responsible view. On the up side however, this means we have reduced competition, which allows us to offer better, higher quality products without the pressure of producing against lower prices.
With Far East prices rising to match European production, we have the opportunity to extend our ranges coming from European factories. These days, our range includes FSC-certified cork, a forest product deriving from the outer bark of the cork oak. It is used in products including table mats, coasters and hot-pot stands, offering a broad variety of potential applications. It is an ideal renewable product as it regenerates its stripped bark every 10 years.
Key customers include John Lewis, Lakeland, Dunelm and Debenhams and we also supply to garden centres, many specialist cookware shops, giftware enterprises and the catering industry, where serving food on wood is very popular and hygienic. T&G also export about 10% of our turnover to the same industries. In 2014, we introduced a range of beechwood boards designed by Sophie Conran with the FSC mark. When we embark on these projects, FSC is always one of the first criteria. The wooden peppermill was invented in 1840 but it is only now that the wooden body is offered with the FSC mark.
An important part of our knowledge base is a series of reports produced in the United States, including one by Wisconsin University called "The Microbiology of Wooden Cutting Boards for Food Safety”. These reports show clearly that there are chemical mechanisms in wood that inhibit the growth of bacteria and are available from T&G on request. At a retail level, our point of sale text summarises the full reports in bullet format. We believe these reports have encouraged the use of wood in serving food throughout the catering industry.
A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of Forest Matters.