I must thank Alex Sykes for his kind comments about my lecture at the RIBA (letters, AJ 12.01.06) and he is quite right to suggest that the RIBA Sustainable Futures Committee should indeed be investigating a wider recognition of certification schemes for timber other than the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) - and this does at last appear to be happening.
However, the main thrust of the argument put forward in the lecture was that since the time of the ancient Greeks, economic realities and enlightened self interest and have been far more effective at reforesting certain parts of the globe (especially in Europe and North America over the last century) than any bureaucratic imposition, and that certification schemes have, in fact, been a resounding failure in improving the perilous position of tropical forests.
I was highly amused a couple of weeks ago to see featured on Greenpeace's website a photograph of a stack of timber with the FSC logo emblazoned on the butt, with the caption suggesting that this logo 'proved that the timber came from a sustainable source'.
This is, in fact, not so. It merely proved that someone in a timber yard had a paint can and a stencil.
Luke Hughes, London WC2