Story | 02/15/2022 11:08:39 | 5 min Read time

UPM Timber and CIBM – promoting sustainable timber together

French wood importer CIBM has been a customer of UPM Timber already for around 20 years. Both are keen on working together to improve sustainability issues further, and promote wood as a construction material.

Long-term partnerships are a vital value for UPM Timber. One important and long-standing partnership, that hopefully continues for much longer into the future, is with CIBM.

CIBM is an importer of wood in La Rochelle and Heyrieux in France and part of the Saint-Gobain group. CIBM imports around 100,000 cubic metres of wood annually, for various purposes like decking, stairs and framings for doors and windows.

“Of all our customers, three quarters are from inside the Saint-Gobain group. For the other 25% of our customers, majority of the wood goes to distribution and the rest for industrial use”, says purchaser Arnaud Massias from CIBM.

Massias has worked at CIBM as a purchaser for five years. Before that, he was a salesperson for two years.

Sustainability, openness and quality at the core of the partnership

UPM Timber’s area director Emmanuel Danieau estimates that CIBM has been a customer for around 20 years. He describes CIBM as an important customer.

“We value the open and trusted relationship that we have with CIBM. We appreciate their loyalty, and we both share the same values concerning sustainability. We at UPM are doing our best to provide them with the best qualities and services, such as documents, certifications and deliveries on time. Of course there’s still space for us to improve and we are working on that”, Danieau says.

The collaboration brings great advantages to both parties.

“CIBM is perfect fit for our commercial strategy, as I hope that we are also a perfect fit for CIBM’s purchasing strategy for timber products now and in the future”, says UPM Timber’s Sales Director Mikko Hyvärinen.

“I particularly appreciate the high quality of the wood. The stability of the quality is very important to us, and I like that from UPM we are able to buy a lot of timber at a good price”, says CIBM’s Arnaud Massias.

According to him, the stable quality of UPM’s timber is so highly valued that some of CIBM’s customers in fact do not buy any timber unless they can be sure it is from UPM.

We want to promote wood as a sustainable construction material, over concrete or other materials that are popular. We hope to work with UPM Timber more on this in the future.

From certifications to CO² emissions

Both UPM and the Saint-Gobain group have committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge, doing their own part in limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees. Both companies also have other sustainability and climate change mitigation targets.

At the moment, for CIBM the most important aspect of sustainability when purchasing timber is forest certification.

“The environmental policy at Saint-Gobain is very strict. Certifications like FSC or PEFC inform to us that the forests are managed sustainably. The CO² emissions of production are an emerging topic that our customers are beginning to have an interest in, but for now it is not yet a defining factor in their decision-making”, Arnaud Massias says.

UPM Timber recently announced that during spring 2022 there will be a shift to a timber wrapping material which is 100% recyclable and at least 30% recycled. Development for a material that would be possibly fully bioplastic or fibre-based will continue. Arnaud Massias finds this very interesting news. Plastic timber wrappings were in fact something he paid attention to when he visited the Seikku sawmill in October 2021. He was impressed by the sawmill technology and the huge volumes of production, but thought there should be a sustainable alternative for the plastic wrapping material.

UPM Timber is very eager to hear customers’ views and needs on sustainability, and to develop constantly based on them.

“We know that for Saint-Gobain and CIBM, certifications and other sustainability issues are and will be more and more important in the coming years. We at UPM Timber are number one in these topics and we are ready as soon as CIBM will ask to provide needed documents”, Emmanuel Danieau says.

Promoting sustainable timber together

The climate-positive impact of wood compared to other construction materials is also something that CIBM and UPM Timber wish to promote together.

Arnaud Massias says CIBM wants to improve the position of wood in France.

“The position of wood as a construction material is still very poor in France compared to Finland. We want to promote wood as a sustainable construction material, over concrete or other materials that are popular. We hope to work with UPM Timber more on this in the future”, he says.

Emmanuel Danieau agrees with him on this goal.

“We are on the same road. We have already had some meetings between UPM Timber and CIBM to talk about these topics. Some solutions are existing and some are still to come. But together we will find solutions”, Danieau concludes.

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