The Environment

Green by Design: Renewable, Durable, Sustainable Timber Veneer

Never before have consumers cared so deeply about the environmental impacts of the products they use. In these environmentally conscious times, concerned consumers are coming to realise wood products offer a breath of fresh air by giving them the peace of mind of knowing that they are using an environmentally friendly building material.

Timber veneer is renewable, reusable, recyclable, and completely biodegradable. The well-managed forests from which our wood is derived are natural air filters, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Forests also provide us with clean water and scenic beauty and provide habitat for wildlife and plants.

In addition, veneering is a highly efficient use of wood. Adhering thin slices of timber to stable substrates yields a material with all the positive features of solid timber while maximising our best resources.
Unlike other decorative surfaces wood veneer stores carbon.

Using Timber & Veneer Products Fights Climate Change

Surveys have shown that half of Australians don’t know that using wood (as opposed to other materials) is good for the environment! Using timber veneer and wood products is naturally better for our environment because they help with climate change in two very important ways.

Firstly, growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the carbon so efficiently that about half the dry weight of a tree is carbon. This carbon remains ‘locked up’ for the whole life of the timber veneer and wood even when we use it for building products or furniture. It is released into the atmosphere again only when the wood decays or is burnt. Recent research shows that more than 95 per cent of the carbon in wood remains stored even after up to 30 years in a landfill.

Secondly, the forest and wood products industry is one of the most greenhouse-friendly sectors of the Australian economy. In fact, it is the only industry sector in Australia that stores more carbon dioxide than it releases into the atmosphere. Thus, increased use of timber veneer and wood products assist Australia in offsetting its overall greenhouse gas emissions.

For these reasons timber veneer and wood are one of the most sustainable and environmentally sound materials on the planet. An easy way to combat climate change – use more timber veneer and wood.

Learn more about the environmental advantages of wood at

Chain of Custody Certification

The Timber Veneer Association of Australia is committed to sourcing both indigenous and exotic timber veneer species from sustainable, harvested logs. The TVAA fully supports industry moves to certification. Chain of Custody Certification in Australia is available in these schemes:

  • The Australian Forestry Standard (AFS),
  • The Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
  • The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification program.

AFS, PEFC and FSC have developed their own ‘standards’ – documents that set down requirements that each enterprise in the supply chain needs to meet to protect the integrity of the claim that ‘products are from certified forests’. Using these standards individual companies are able to implement a Chain of Custody system within their own operations. Certified veneer products are available from our members. AFS is included by PEFC, which is international.


Formaldehyde is common in the everyday environment. Additional gas is released from such sources as fires, decay, carpets, clothing, car exhausts and even lawn mowing. All panels used comply with the Low Formaldehyde Emission (LFE) recommendations of the Australian Government’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS).

All veneered product from TVAA members meet E1 emission class or better.

Carbon Capture

Timber Veneer – The Environmentally Conscious Choice

Increasing the use of wood in buildings is a way of significantly reducing carbon emissions. The following table from Australia’s ‘State of the Forests Report 2008’ by the Australian Government illustrates this benefit.

For more current information resulting from ongoing research please continue to check the ‘News’ section.


Building material Carbon released in
Carbon stored in products Net carbon released
Treated timber 22 250 -228a
Glue-laminated timber 82 250 -168a
Structural steel 8132 15 8,117
Reinforced concrete 182 0b 182
Aluminium 6325 0 6325

a) A negative value means carbon is stored for the life of the building.

b) There is a tiny amount of carbon in the steel reinforcement. The long term uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by concrete (carbonisation) is normallynot considered: coatings and other means are usually applied to prevent carbonisation, as it can lead to the corrosion of the reinforcing steel.

Source: Buchanan and Honey (1994).