Research project launches to increase traceability and transparency in mass timber supply chains

Built by Nature, a network and grant-making fund with a mission to accelerate the timber and biobased building transformation, has awarded €330,000 to three projects from its first Challenge initiative. The “From Forest to Frame” Challenge was launched in November of 2022 with the goal to increase the transparency around the climate impacts of decisions made along the bio-based construction value chain.

Our project is called IMPACTT – Innovative Mapping and Processes to Advance Construction Timber Transparency. ASBP is the project lead, with a team consisting of Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC UK), DoubleHelix Tracking Technologies, Agrodome in the Netherlands, Woodknowledge Wales, Stora Enso, and Eurban, with support from CEI-Bois and TDUK. The aim of the project is to investigate how we might overlay biodiversity data and forest data onto the PEFC Certification system. We aim to find six mass timber buildings from the UK and the Netherlands where we can trace back the mass timber elements to forests where there has been active biodiversity measurement, monitoring, and management. We want to bring the forest of origin much closer to the building and will investigate how a QR code situated on the building might bring this additional information about the forest to the building user.

PEFC is the world’s largest certification system for sustainable forest-based products, with over 280 million hectares of certified forests. The PEFC scheme undergoes regular revisions every 7 years, with the last revision having been completed in 2020. For the next revision, PEFC are considering integrating carbon and biodiversity impacts into their programmes and so this project could have a significant impact on the implementation of these changes.

The project will also explore ways to address information gaps in the mass timber supply chain and enable better visualisation using digital supply chain mapping tools. This work will be led by DoubleHelix.

In addition, we will conduct interviews with industry stakeholders to gauge their understanding of the fundamentals of sustainable forest management, with the aim of understanding where the learning gaps are and then suggest resources to fill those gaps.

As part of the project we have developed a short survey (3 to 5 minutes) to gauge the construction sector stakeholders’ knowledge about sustainable forestry. Please take a few minutes to assist us by taking our Sustainable Forestry Awareness Survey.


The other two projects funded under the Forest to Frame Challenge are led by UK based research and education consultancy EVOLVING FORESTS and W/E consultants in the Netherlands. Evolving Forests will produce a series of curated films and media content to enhance the understanding of different stakeholders’ roles within the timber value-chain, and to build their understanding of sustainable forestry. Stichting W/E adviseurs duurzaam bouwen (W/E Consultants) will work to generate better carbon accountability within the European cross-laminated timber value chain by proposing new and accurate calculation methods.

Biodiversity measurement is a fast evolving science and Biodiversity Net Gain’s (BNG) transitional arrangements were due to close in November 2023, with BNG delivery to become a mandatory requirement for the vast majority of housebuilders and developers on all developments in the UK. However, the government has just delayed putting this into effect. Mass timber has the potential to reduce the embodied impact of construction versus more conventional materials such as concrete and steel. It is strong and light, and as a natural material, has a strong aesthetic appeal. This work follows on from our Mass Timber Insurance Playbook, which is a free download from our website.


DoubleHelix: “DoubleHelix is excited to lead the digital supply chain mapping efforts for the IMPACTT project, paving the way for true transparency in timber sourcing. We believe that bridging the gap between the forest of origin and the end user will revolutionize how the public understand and value sustainable forest management.” Darren Thomas, CEO

PEFC: “PEFC UK is delighted to be part of the team for this project, the results of which could have a positive influence on the direction of future revisions of PEFC’s global standards. With forthcoming legislation in some regions requiring complete supply chain mapping, the timing and scope of the project should provide invaluable information on the solutions to achieve fully traceable, sustainable timber supply chains.” John Kirkby, Executive Director

Stora Enso Wood Products: “As built environment professionals are getting to grips with carbon emissions to help mitigate the climate emergency, innovation’s focus shifts to the nature emergency and how the structures we are creating today impact biodiversity via their supply chains. Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso are honoured to be collaborating with this project team to demystify the mass timber journey from seedling to building.” Dr Mila Duncheva, MCIOB, Business Development Manager of UK & Ireland

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Further information

Simon Corbey, ASBP Director:

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