Christmas round-up and look ahead to 2020

2019 has been another growth year for Grown in Britain with a focus on increasing demand for the GiB mark, developing alternatives to imports, and getting more woods back into management.

I am delighted to see the team expand to meet the increase in activity which has resulted not only from our own maturity in the market place, but also from the cultural and economic move in business and society, to demand local, transparent supply chains for products we use and consume.

The country is heading into a dynamic year of change and development, which will create even greater opportunities for what we stand for and what our certificate holders produce. We will be working hard to meet the raised expectations, buoyed by the fantastic support we enjoy from our partners, sponsors and amazing certificate holders.

We’d like to reassure you that we have taken on board your feedback over recent months, and that our priority for 2020 is to increase the focus we give to our certificate holders and raise the visibility of the Grown in Britain mark. 

A number of fresh ideas are in the pipeline for the new year. These include:

New website
 
Our new website is due to launch early in 2020 and signifies a new look and a new era for GiB – with a clear focus on the Certificate Holders’ Directory. The look and functionality of the directory has been completely re-invented, and visitors to the site will now be able to find GiB members and products easily. The directory will be visible on every page of the new site, and will be fully searchable and user-friendly.
 
Regular Newsletters
 
In 2020 we aim to start a regular newsletter. Not only will this keep you up to date with what we’re doing behind the scenes at GiB, but we will also be inviting our members and partners to send in their news and stories. 
 
The GiB Team
 
As Grown in Britain continues to evolve, so too does our core team.
 
Many of you will have worked with Laura Sceal who was our business manager until October of this year, when she left us to pursue new ventures in her career. We wish Laura all the very best for the future.
 
We are very pleased to welcome Rachel Lawrence who has now joined us in the slightly different role of business development manager. Rachel has an educational marketing background and has successfully set up and run two start-up businesses.
 
Rachel will be supported by PR manager Nic Perrins, who comes from a construction marketing background, and offers us strong editorial links with the trade press.
 
Helen Bentley-Fox continues as our technical manager. Using her technical expertise and knowledge of the timber supply chain, Helen has gathered feedback from the timber industry and timber purchasers, to produce Version 4 of the Grown in Britain standard, moving from a licensing system to a certification scheme. 

Helen is also a key member of the Plant Health Alliance, working on the new Plant Healthy Assurance Scheme, helping tree nurseries, arborists, landscapers – in fact anyone working in the plant industry – to manage the risk of pests and diseases which change more of our landscape.  Our delivery of the Plant Healthy scheme will be launched in Spring/Summer 2020 and we will keep you posted on where to buy responsibly sourced trees and shrubs for planting.
 
These personnel changes ensure that we’re well prepared for the surge in activity coming our way in 2020, and that we’re equipped to deal with the increased support to our members over the coming years.
 


 

Other major highlights in 2019 have included:

Grown in Britain Week 2019

This year’s GiB week in October, incorporated a number of significant events:

  • On the 8th we attended a massively positive meeting with Defra Minister, Lord Gardiner. It was an essential and timely conversation, looking at the future role of Grown in Britain in guiding and supporting our industry colleagues through the challenging months ahead. Lord Gardiner was also keen to know if the nursery sector was in a position to grow more home-grown plants and we discussed the role of the impending Plant Healthy scheme. This scheme has been developed by Grown in Britain, the NSF and the HTA, and will give biosecurity assurance to compliant businesses.
  • On Wednesday 9th we co-hosted the Annual Forestry Conference alongside The CLA and Forestry Commission. The auditorium was full to capacity, heralding the event as the most successful so far; with great talks, debates, and commitment. We hope to see many of you atNewbury Racecourse on the 14th October 2020 for the next Grown in Britain Week Conference, entitled “Forestry: Good for business, good for the planet?”
  • Monday 14th saw us in Westminster for the launch of our research into imported Christmas trees and biosecurity. It was great to share the podium with Defra and Forestry England, who gave highly informative presentations around the challenges of keeping dangerous pests out of the country. Read the report here.

Plant Healthy

Since GiB Week, the Plant Healthy Scheme has been officially launched and adopted by the Plant Health Alliance, which steers this agenda in the UK. Grown in Britain is very proud to have played a central role in developing this new scheme, which will make our country more resilient and biosecure. We will start certifying the plant supply chain against this standard in the spring.

Research

As a not-for-profit, Grown in Britain puts any spare resource into research and development; adding value to home-grown products, so that we get our woods managed and reduce unnecessary imports.

The work we have put into developing thermally modified home-grown timber continues to pay off, with the award-winning Brimstone becoming the go-to product for many architects.

In the late summer, we partnered with Sylva in setting a challenge to the first cadre of Sylva Wood School students, who went on to successfully demonstrate that Douglas Fir can make excellent furniture.

Our collaborative project to make Cross Laminated Timber panels from home-grown beech has shown that the species works technically as a component of CLT, but there are challenges in securing quality raw material.
 
Demand Up 
 
There has been a significant increase the number of construction companies, architects and retailers who put Grown in Britain certification at the heart of their procurement policies and material choices. We have worked hard to achieve this success, and our challenge now is to increase the amount of Grown in Britain products so that we can meet this demand.
 
If you have a Grown in Britain certificate, use it to make your products stand out – it’s a brand people want to see; and if you are buying timber or forest products, make sure you ask the retailer if they stock Grown in Britain Certified products.
 
So 2020 promises to be a busy, challenging and exciting year; and all that remains is for the whole GiB team to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and a healthy and successful new year.