How it all started
Founded in 2006, A/S Global Timber emerged from our previous company name Internationalt Hårdttræ, a timber company whose roots stretch back to the 1970s. In 1974 Lars Munch Christensen, a very well-known person in the timber industry and for a long period partner in Global Timber, founded Internationalt Hårdttræ in Hovedgård, near Aarhus in Denmark. Lars Munch and the founding partners in Global Timber saw the potential in the market for a globally oriented company. Today, the management operates and develops the enterprise, based on a respected business model that includes ethics and the development and maintenance of trade relationships.
I, myself, joined Global Timber in 2013 after previous learning about trading from some of the best people in the timber industry. At that time, we were generally servicing the flooring industry in Southeast Asia but since then got more influence in the furniture and door industry.
The flooring industry was key to our business because that industry moved to Asia from Denmark and Europe/America, and we had moved with it. The importance to move with the world as it turns cannot be emphasized enough if you want to be part of the development or even just to keep up and progress together with the industry.
Back then in the 70’s-80’s Rubber wood was being developed into something more useful than just latex gum. In Malaysia, several Danish people had success by turning rubber wood into timber. They experimented with many different chemical treatments such as vacuum processes that protected the fibers against insect attacks. It became a huge success; the timber was mainly used for furniture and core material for flooring. Today it is a timber widely used for cheaper furniture, core for floors and as well as substitutes for Beech and Maple sports flooring around the world. It must have been this Danish connection that brought Internationalt Hårdttræ to Malaysia and the rest of Asia.
Global Timber eyed an interest in Malaysia and Indonesia where flooring factories had opened up and made good quality flooring at more competitive price than in the Western world. They had been working in local solid wood flooring but now moved to imported species and engineered flooring for export. The manufactures needed supply of Oak and other Western species. And this is what we did.
We were supplying the flooring industry in Denmark with species like Oak, Beech and Ash as well as American Cherry, Maple and a variety of tropical species that were pricewise quite competitive for parquet flooring. Typical standard sizes were 26 x 76 mm. We are still supplying the flooring industry in Scandinavia but now a days it is more concentrated on European Oak for plank flooring like 26 x 160 mm and 26 x 210 mm and in lesser volume than in the earlier days.
The hardwood flooring is an interesting story
Back in the 80s’s the world, (read Europe and in particular Scandinavia) turned back to hardwood flooring instead of post-World War 2 popularity of horrible environmental unfriendly linoleum and cheap carpets. Hardwood flooring was still not a luxury item like we see it today. Likely, due to the lack of quality and poor installation systems for the popular parquet flooring at that time.
Wood species started slowly to turn from Teak in the old days 60’ – 70’ to variety of Oak, Ash, Beech, Walnut and Maple into a fashion of Oak. No one has been happier for this new Oak fashion that the suppliers because Oak is available in abundance volume in the European and American forests. In general, hardwood forest in America and Europe are dominated by Oak trees, let it be White or Red Oak. Modern installation technic and hardwood plank flooring only really advanced in the late 1980’s. New flooring patterns should be long planks, smooth and laid flat on top of concrete floors.
Green movements later in the 90’s turned the supply around to be certified timber and thereby flooring changed a lot more to Western timber volumes instead of tropical hardwoods which was the fashion species before then. If the old days was solid Teak, Padauk, Doussie, Jatoba, Merbau, Bilinga and Iroko flooring, then today it is Oak, Oak and more Oak.
The flooring as we know it today, is pre-finished wide plank flooring where we can choose hundreds different finishes and with lock down assembly for the DIY family, is only a development from the 2010’ and still in development. Newest fashion or latest development is to my knowledge unfinished flooring where “professional DIY” finishing is applied after floors are installed. Instead of lacquer it is now environmentally friendly oil treatments in many nice colors and of course VOC free. Often in very wide widths as the most luxurious, but also nice rustic with natural defects is hugely popular around the world.
A fashion is popular until something new pops up, but we have not really seen what the new next thing will be in terms of wood species. Some South American species like Jatoba and African Iroko and Doussie also became more popular at a time but did not make it to the finish line. We work with some customers to turn the beautiful Ash and Walnut into a preferred flooring. Some even call it “The After Oak” movement.
– Article by Per Friis Knudsen
On our website you can read our story line here and learn more about our company’s history. Here I will give you a good read about how we got started and how it developed with the flooring industry.
The Vision House
One way to visualize our approach to sustainability, and integrate it in our business model, is through our Vision House.
The foundation of the Global Timber Vision House is built upon our expertise in the hardwood business, an innovative mindset and us striving to create value towards and for our customers. These three attributes have shaped the foundation of our business since our establishment in 2006.
For the past years, we built a robust foundation for the company and the ground floor in our Vision House is defined as our social environment and our environmental policy – internal commitments as well as external promises. The last pillar is our purchasing policy and all combined, the three describe our business Ethics. Lastly, the foundation and the three pillars enable us to pursue our mission:
“To bring sustainability in worldwide forestry and being the preferred
trading partner for our customers”
To reach for a healthy and greener planet, the Global Timber Vision House is implemented, to achieve our CSR goals, and as a reminder to develop on all levels.
Difference between verification and certification
Verification is your guarantee that the wood you buy comes from a legally harvested forest and is exported with all legal documents. Verification does not necessarily ensure sustainability or responsible forest management.
Certification is a guaratee that the wood you buy comes from a sustainable managed forests where the biodiversity and wildlife is protected. The certification also guarantees that the rights of forest workers, local communities and indigenous people are safeguarded.
– Article by Petra Postolache