New look Sawmilling SA

March 24, 2022

To celebrate the International Day of Forests on March 21, Sawmilling South Africa (SSA) has come up with a new logo and visual identity that focuses on the role that responsibly sourced and processed wood can play in providing solutions fit for a future sustainable world.

"Getting people to recognise the value of timber in the built environment will be set in motion by our modernised visual identity and corporate logo, and will be directed by our new positioning statement: 'We saw the future'," explains Roy Southey, SSA’s executive director.

"We saw the future - demonstrates that we use renewable and responsibly sourced timber to saw products that are aimed at the future of sustainable, low-carbon design, architecture and construction. It fundamentally embodies our vision for the timber industry in South Africa and globally," says Southey.

"There is a unique climate case for wood as it is deemed as the only structural material that can naturally and significantly decarbonise our planet, both through the growing of trees (which sequester carbon dioxide and release oxygen) and by harvesting them at the right time, which locks up the carbon in sustainable quantities for many years to come. In fact, trees absorb about two tonnes of carbon dioxide to create one tonne of their own (dry) mass[i]," he points out.

SSA is an industry association that represents around 50 sawmilling companies, collectively employing approximately 12,000 people, predominantly in the rural areas of South Africa.

Sawmills transform roundwood – in other words, logs – into a variety of sawn timber products, including structural lumber for the building and construction industry and industrial lumber for the furniture, joinery and packaging sectors.

Globally, urban populations are growing, requiring cities to become more dense, often by building upwards. At the same time, we are facing a climate crisis. The global built environment is currently responsible for approximately 40% of global energy related CO2 emissions[ii], with emissions stemming from two main sources: the energy consumed within buildings for heating, cooling and power (operational emissions) and the emissions associated with the extraction, processing and manufacture of building materials like concrete, bricks and steel (embodied emissions).

Harvested wood products, which store carbon, can be a substitute for carbon intensive materials such as steel and concrete in construction. However, in South Africa where mass timber buildings are not commonplace, people tend to think only of log cabins, or conventional roof trusses. Recent technologies, however, are harnessing the natural strength of timber and improving it, engineering a new range of timber that can be used for mass timber buildings and high-rise construction.

"South Africa is ripe for scaling up the use of timber in construction, however many people perceive wood as rudimentary or weak. But for engineering professionals and architects of mass timber structures, there is significant opportunity for innovation, localisation and employment creation," says Southey.

Cape Town-based agency Creative Caterpillar was given the task to visually reflect SSA's renewed focus and vision, resulting in the association's brand transformation. "The team adopted a contemporary, future-minded approach when re-imagining the SSA logo, which made it possible to step away from our previous, more literal logo and embrace a more inclusive and relatable design for all stakeholders in the industry," says Southey.

The evolution of the corporate logo with its refreshed colour palette of orange (representing creativity and innovation) and olive green (representing nature and growth) has given the sector a renewed focus on the role that wood can play in building a sustainable future.

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