Responsible Sourcing of Timber and Paper

Responsible sourcing of timber and paper

Waitrose recognises that the production of timber-based products has significant economic, environmental and social impacts. As a responsible retailer we have a role to play in supporting sustainable forestry practices and curbing the worldwide trade in illegal timber.

Sustainable forestry is defined as the management of forests in a way that maintains their biodiversity, productivity and regeneration capacity. It also considers their potential to fulfil ecological, economic and social functions both now and in the future.

EU Timber Regulation

The EU Timber Regulation, which came into force in 2013, increases the obligation on all participants in timber supply chains to know where their wood comes from in order to prevent illegally logged timber entering European markets. Most importantly, it requires those operators who first place timber on the EU market to exercise due diligence to minimise the risk of illegally harvested timber entering those supply chains. We expect all suppliers to comply with the EU Timber Regulation where applicable. However, our ultimate aim is to always exceed legislative requirements in our purchasing practices.

Responsible forestry

Responsible forestry certification schemes like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) give independent assurance that timber products balance environmental, economic and social impacts. Waitrose actively works with suppliers to exceed the legislative requirements of the EU Timber Regulation to offer customers certified products. Where this is not yet possible, our minimum requirement is to make sure that any timber or paper based product is both legal and traceable.  

Our customers can clearly identify if a product is FSC or PEFC certified by the associated logo on pack.


A significant proportion of Waitrose’s wood and paper based products are already certified.

Our aim is that 100% of  Waitrose own brand paper and wood products are procured from recycled or certified sustainable sources.

Sustainable timber and paper policy

All our suppliers have access to our sustainable timber and paper policy.

The policy sets out the following principles:

• We expect our suppliers to fully comply with the EU Timber Regulation and provide adequate evidence to demonstrate this.

• We will not use illegally logged or traded timber.

• We are committed to using known and traceable raw materials that have been grown sustainably.

• We support the use of third party certification to show sustainable production and transparent trade.

• We actively encourage the use of recycled and reclaimed materials.

• Products or raw materials that do not comply with the policy must be resourced.

This policy applies to all Waitrose own brand products which are made of solid wood, wood composites (such as MDF), paper or pulp. It covers any product where wood materials are in excess of the 5% finished product by weight.

The policy is equally applicable to branded products that are imported from outside the EU directly by Waitrose or any other branded products which are sold exclusively by Waitrose.

The policy does not currently apply to packaging used on product or fabrics made from wood based pulp.