Interview with Executive Director at the Global Timber Forum

Rachel Butler

Speaker Day 1: Delivering economic benefits from the world’s forests

The Institute interviews Rachel Butler as she prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

Tell us about your presentation?

Wait and see!

Why is your presentation important for our conference?

We are advocating a different approach to engage the forest and timber trade in responsible trade for them to be seen as part of the solution and not the problem.

What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

Negative perceptions of the industry and competing land uses.

What would you like to see the UK do?

Continue to be a leader in climate change and as part of that tackling deforestation and degradation. That is now diminishing due to Brexit.

How did you get into forestry?

By accident! Whilst working for local government I was responsible for developing high profile sustainability projects and securing the funding. I successfully approached the managing director of a local company that happened to be part of a major Finnish wood products company. He asked me to put in my CV – so I did. I was warned that you can never leave this sector as you get hooked and cannot escape… Although not a well-known fact, my family are in the timber industry. My grandfather started and ran his own UK timber business, my uncle and now his son, my cousin continues to operate and before her retirement my mother was very much involved. My grandad once asked me if I would join the family business. My response, as the precocious teenager as I was at that time makes me smile to this day, ‘I don’t think so, I want a proper job’.


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