Why Buy British Charcoal?


British charcoal is made from hardwoods harvested by coppicing and thinning our native woodlands. By managing our woods in this way we can produce an infinitely sustainable supply of wood. Coppicing has been practised for thousands of years, producing not only wood for fuel but also material for hurdle making, hedgelaying, thatching and many other crafts.

The word coppice derives originally from the French word 'couper', meaning 'to cut', indicating the way in which our native woodlands will regenerate when cut back, providing regrowth that can be managed and used indefinitely. The beauty of this system is that not only does it work in harmony with nature, but it also provides a habitat for many insects, butterflies, wild flowers and mammals for whom the cyclical nature of coppicing is essential. By buying British charcoal, you will be helping to ensure the future of our woodlands, many of which have become neglected in recent years, as our thirst for ever cheaper and unsustainable products from around the world has increased.

"Issues of afforestation are vitally important, but frequently there is no association between the use of wood to produce charcoal and the need to replenish the wood supply. There is an urgent need to develop better techniques for the assessment and management of forest resources. There are particular problems in parts of Africa and Asia where, in some regions, the whole ecological system has been disturbed by deforestation leading to desertification, to the extent that water and food supplies are in chronic shortage with the consequent effects of widespread famine. Such issues as these must be reconciled by those who promote charcoal production for developing countries".

From "Charcoal Production: A Handbook" by A.C.Hollingdale, R Krishnan and A.P.Robinson, published by the Commonwealth Science Council (1999).

In the Interest of the Global Environment

Britain currently imports over 90% of its annual charcoal requirements. Most of this charcoal comes from endangered tropical rain forest and mangrove habitat in South America, South East Asia and West Africa, where poorly paid charcoal workers rarely see the profits made from the sale of their charcoal thousands of miles away, in countries like Britain. The production of much of this imported charcoal involves unsustainable forestry practices and the exploitation and destruction of already fragile, often irreplaceable ecosystems.