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Scottish Working Woods

Scottish Working Woods

SWW - The Scottish Working Woods Label in 2015
Scottish Working Woods LogoThe Scottish Working Woods Label was founded in 2007 initially by a small group of ASHS, SFMA & Reforesting Scotland members supported by Forestry Commission Scotland. The label promoted local 'low miles' produce, sustainably sourced produce, and it was, when launched, ahead of its time in these areas. Now, with widespread interest in sustainable local produce, and with fresh interest and demand for identification labels like this one, there is a renewed push within the member organisations to further promote this label; to gain more licensees, to sign up more member organisations and to increase public awareness. SWHA (Scottish Wild Harvests Association) has now formally joined ASHS & SFMA as a third member organisation.

An Introduction To The Scottish Working Woods Label
What it means The Scottish Working Woods label is a guarantee for customers that the timber or product is produced by a small Scottish producer, in Scotland, and that the raw material (timber etc) is grown in Scotland. The raw materials are, as far as possible, sourced locally to the producer and are produced in an environmentally friendly way. The benefits of using local timber are...

• Creating value in the local economy—adding value to a local natural resource which is retained in the local economy.
• Wise use of a natural resource—Scotland's woodlands can produce large amounts of these products, which can be harvested without damage to the environment. The natural qualities of these materials—beauty, durability and tastiness—make them suitable for many different uses, although they have been largely ignored in recent times.

• Biodiversity—encouraging interest in (and economic viability of) growing and managing native broadleaved woodlands which have a very high biodiversity value.
• Cutting greenhouse gas emissions—reducing reliance on imports and long-distance transport.
• Reducing waste—much locally produced hardwood timber would otherwise go to landfill sites.

• Providing local employment—jobs in processing and manufacturing, and support jobs in forestry.
• Amenity—supporting the management of woodlands that provide landscape amenity and wonderful places for walking and recreation.
• Socio-cultural sustainability—traditional knowledge is often associated with woodland products, and by investing in these products that knowledge is maintained and strengthened in society. Similarly many woodland products are sourced from within remote, sometimes small, rural communities and therefore their sale helps to maintain these communities.

How the label helps businesses
Label users have already found that customers interested in the source of their products are reassured by the messages carried by this label. It has had, and will go on having, publicity and marketing effort. The public is showing increased awareness of the importance of local sourcing, of minimising transport and of environmental sustainability, and this leads to choices when purchasing. Tenders often specify "FSC (or similar)" timber, SWW can—and frequently has—been used to secure these types of tenders. Often all that is required is a brief explanation of SWW's principles.

How businesses get to use the label
First a business needs to get a licence to use the label. There is a simple application form for this. There is currently no fee, although in future it may be necessary to charge a small annual membership fee. Products carrying the label must contain at least 90% Scottish raw materials. If the majority of a company's product lines comply with the label criteria then the label can be used on their generic marketing material and letterhead. If less than 50% of a company's products comply, then the label can still be used but only on individual products. When licensed, the business will receive printed labels and computer files to enable more to be printed or added to letterhead, website, leaflets, etc. The label can only be used on products which meet the label criteria. This means that the business can sell both labelled and nonlabelled goods.

How SWW is organised
Scottish Working Woods is a voluntary organisation that runs a label scheme. Its membership is composed of representatives from the sector associations; ASHS, SFMA & SWHA. SWW are keen to recruit more representative associations. Businesses wishing to use the label must be a member of one of these representative associations. This means they are known by their peers, and that way there is mutual monitoring which replaces the intrusive investigations of other label schemes. Businesses using the label get a licence and the terms of agreement are stated in the licence agreement. This is a legal contract between SWW and the licensee. The license can be revoked in the case of wrongdoing by a licensee.

Typical products and types of business that can apply to use the label:
Wood, timber and timber products such as those supplied by most of the members of the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers who supply native and home grown timbers. Furniture and accessories, joinery & building products. Increasing numbers of Scottish furniture and wood craft businesses are now using more and more Scottish timber in their products. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs)—forest-derived edible goods, herbal medicines, decorative goods, aromatics, including makers of products using NTFPs eg dyers, decorative foliage products, food processors, charcoal makers, woodturners, woodcarvers, basket makers and allied crafts.

For further info and how to apply for alicence please see Scottish Working Woods or

Written by,
Patrick Baxter
SWW Chairman

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These informative ASHS leflets can be viewed and/or downloaded:


ASHS Leaflet   An introduction to ASHS.

ASHS members make...   For customers and specifiers, descriptions of the Products and Services which ASHS members offer.

New entrants   Information for people considering setting up a sawmilling business on what's involved in small scale sawmilling.

We want your logs!   Information for woodland owners and managers on the types of logs ASHS members want to buy.

Log valuing   For woodland managers, an introduction to grading, valuing and marketing hardwood logs.

Why Buy  For customers, an explanation of the importance of buying homegrown Scottish hardwoods and premium softwoods.



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