Donaldson's Environmental Intern Wins National Prize

12 Sept 2011

There were celebrations at James Donaldson Timber Ltd (JDT) last week as student placement Charlotte Owen won first prize at an award ceremony in Edinburgh.

Charlotte has been working with JDT for the past two months through the Bright Green Placement scheme, looking into the energy usage and carbon emissions of the business. The placement is run across Scotland by The Business Partnership Ltd, and culminates in an award ceremony to honour the most enterprising student.

After competing against 12 students for the regional awards in August, Charlotte made it into the national final at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 6 September along with six other students from across Scotland. Following a presentation and exhibition to a panel of judges, Charlotte was awarded with 'Most Enterprising Environmental Student 2011' by Stewart Stevenson, MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

During her placement, Charlotte's objective was to reduce the company's energy consumption and carbon emissions, predominantly through developing a monitoring and targeting system to highlight the peaks and troughs of energy usage. Through her investigations, Charlotte identified that she could save the company 20% on electricity bills, reduce paper waste by 4.5 tonnes and reduce its carbon emissions by 210 tonnes per year.

Charlotte Owen Charlotte Owen

Charlotte explains:

"It was my intention that with an effective monitoring system, well researched recommendations and a voluntary 'Green Team', the company could make positive changes that would be welcomed and supported by its employees well into the future.

"I was absolutely delighted to win the national final of the Environmental Placement Programme. This has been one of the most learning intensive and valuable experiences of my life. Before my placement I had the passion and interest for sustainability and energy reduction as well as the skills to think analytically and problem solve. My placement has since given me the technical knowledge to carry out energy and carbon monitoring and assess the feasibility of a number of engineering and technical measures to reduce energy consumption. I've learnt a lot; I feel like I've had a positive impact on the company, and I've also had a great time."

Donaldson's Integrated Systems Manager, Mark Murphy comments:

"Charlotte far exceeded what was expected of her in her role, and has been a real asset to the company over the last two months. We're extremely pleased and proud that she won the national award, and that her hard work has been recognised.

"As a company dedicated to managing the impact we have on the environment, we are always looking for new ways to perform our business in a more environmentally-responsible manner. I will be taking over Charlotte's report and will ensure that where possible the company follows her recommendations. We wish her all the best in her future role."

Since starting her placement, Charlotte has been offered a job with Kent County Council Highway Transportation Graduate Stream, where she will be planning new infrastructure developments, public transport and non-vehicular modes of transport.

Donaldson's Employees Set To Cycle 2,000km for Charity!

17 May 2011

There are now less than five weeks to go until the Donaldson Challenge 2011 kicks off its first leg from DTE Ashford!

Our valiant cyclists are currently getting in some final training ready for the gruelling 1,223 mile cycle around the UK via all 23 branches of the Donaldson Group.

Non - Executive Director, Alan Sinclair is working particularly hard, as he prepares to cycle the entire 2,000km route in just three weeks! Alan will be joined for much of the cycle by Non - Executive Director Randolph Murray, who will also be cycling a remarkable 700 miles.

26 brave James Donaldson & Sons employees and friends have signed up to take part in the challenge as a relay, accompanying Alan and Randolph on their journey around the branches; starting at DTE Ashford and finishing at the JDT sawmill in Leven. It should be a very exciting event - please be sure to give Alan, Randolph and the relay teams a big cheer if you see them on their tour around the country!

The aim of the cycle is to raise £20,000 for Columba 1400, in connection with our company charity, the Donaldson Leadership Academy. Columba 1400 is a truly fantastic social enterprise and charity with a focus on young people who come from challenging backgrounds, including exclusion, homelessness, and those in Local Authority Care. Columba 1400 recognises the tough realities and restrictive environments in which many young people operate and the limited employment opportunities they face - these are often the young people who are the hardest to reach and those so often excluded.

Columba 1400's residential programmes, followed by ongoing support, are designed to give young people the strength and courage to find their own unique voice - and to use that voice to inspire the families and communities they return to. By raising money for this charity we are making a real and significant difference to a number of young people's lives.

Along with the endurance test ahead of the cyclists, cycling any distance in the British summer is certainly going to have many challenges along the way, with the changeable weather and swarms of midgeys - not to mention the saddle-soreness!! !! Any support you can offer for this experience would therefore be very much appreciated.

If you would like to support the Donaldson Challenge, you can donate online through our 'Just Giving' page at where you can also see a video of how your money can make a difference to the young people involved. Any support you can offer the cyclists is very much appreciated.

We will be updating the website, facebook page and Twitter during the cycle, so you'll be able to see the progress being made. Please keep coming back to find out how they're getting on!

Find out more:

If you would like to take part in the cycle, or would like to offer your services as support vehicle driver for a leg of the journey, please contact Holly on 01592 760912 or

The Ultimate Donaldson Challenge

6 April 2011
Bike Ride

It is with great excitement that we announce our biggest challenge ever: The Donaldson Cycle!

The Donaldson Cycle will take place in Summer 2011, and is being organised to increase Group camaraderie; have some fun, and hopefully raise some funds in the process for Columba 1400 in connection with our company charity, the Donaldson Leadership Academy.

The cycle will be taken in a relay formation, touring around all 23 branches of the Donaldson Group, starting at DTE Ashford and finishing at James Donaldson Timber Sawmill in Leven.

The route will take the cyclists across the UK with a distance of 1,223 miles, with an option to participate in one or two legs of the journey as a relay, or for the really keen (and we have already had some sign up!) there is an option to cycle the entire Donaldson Tour.

The cycle is planned for June-July 2011, with the dates to be confirmed in the coming weeks. More details of the event will also be announced shortly. Keep your eye out for more information; it looks set to be a fantastic event!

If you are interested in taking part in the Donaldson Cycle or would like to sponsor us, please contact Holly at or 01592 760912.

You can make a donation to the charity at our Just Giving page.

The Route

Start - DTE Ashford
Finish - James Donaldson Timber Sawmill, Leven

1,223 miles (approx 65 miles per day)

Date Commencing:
20th June 2011

18 days
(this is flexible depending on the abilities of those taking part, call for further details)

Timber Trading Review August 2010

1 August 2010

During the first six months of this year, culminating factors such as: reduced production activity in certain Scandinavian/Baltic/Central European countries, rising log prices, exchange rates (particularly the Pound versus the Swedish Krona and the Euro), increased world demand and other areas of the world prepared to pay higher levels than the UK, have played their part in pushing up the cost of imported softwood product.

Unfortunately this situation (particularly in the case of rising log costs) has not changed, and if anything has become more severe as we move into the third quarter.

Third quarter levels for Whitewood will have increased from the first quarter - dependent on quality and specification - by between 20-30%.

Imported softwood prices are now already at historically high levels in the UK, and we believe they are unlikely to come under any pressure to reduce for the remainder of this year, and may continue to increase in the fourth quarter.

Continually rising softwood levels will be more unwelcome news for everybody involved in the supply/sale of softwood. We will however, continue to work hard to minimise the overall effect of increased price changes to our customers.

Donaldson's Celebrates 150 Years in the Industry

17 June 2010
150 years

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons Ltd is celebrating 150 years in business this year.

To mark the company's sesquicentennial, James Donaldson & Sons Ltd has decided to leave a 150th anniversary legacy for the benefit of the community. Mr Neil Donaldson, Chairman and CEO of James Donaldson & Sons Ltd explains:

"For a company to survive 150 years is incredibly rare, and is something which we within the firm are enormously proud of. The Directors and I did not want this amazing milestone to go unrecognised and gave much thought about how to celebrate the achievement."

Two years ago, the Directors of James Donaldson & Sons decided to start a charity in recognition of the 150th anniversary. Rather than waste money in short term revelry, the company donated £150,000 to the new charity, and so The Donaldson Leadership Academy was launched.

The purpose of the charity is to help children who have not had an easy start in life to realise their true potential. These young people often have very low expectations for their future, so the aim of the Donaldson Leadership Academy is to challenge that perception.

The children are taken to social enterprise Columba 1400 on the Isle of Skye, which is devoted to leadership development. Here they develop team skills, self worth and confidence, and most importantly, enjoy themselves.

For the last two years the charity has sent 32 young people from the Levenmouth area where the company was founded to Columba 1400. Mr Donaldson explains the results:

"Seeing the effect this experience can have on children is incredibly moving. My wife and I have participated with the children on Skye in each of the last two years and not only have these visits been inspirational they have also been life changing.

"I hope that through the generosity of our shareholders and suppliers, we will be able to double the figure we have already invested in the Donaldson Leadership Academy."

The Donaldson Group, which comprises Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd, James Donaldson Timber Ltd, MGM Timber Ltd and Parker Kislingbury Ltd, began in 1860, when James Donaldson started selling timber from Tayport in Fife.

In the last 150 years, James Donaldson & Sons Ltd has grown to become one of the UK's leading independent processors, manufacturers and distributors of timber and engineered timber products. From one small branch in Fife, Donaldson's has become a nationwide group with 21 operating branches across the UK.

Donaldson's Gets Royal Seal of Approval

16 June 2010
Donaldson's Gets Royal Seal of Approval

Fife-based timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons Ltd has had the pleasure of welcoming Royalty to it's sawmill in Leven this week, as the company was visited by HRH the Duke of York.

Prince Andrew was on site to honour the 150th anniversary of James Donaldson & Sons, and spent time with the company looking around the sawmill and learning about the business.

To mark his visit and the anniversary of the timber company, he unveiled a commemorative sculpture which had been carved out of a tree, representing a lumberjack from 1860 when the company was founded.

During his visit, the duke learned with particular interest about the Donaldson Leadership Academy, which Donaldson's set up in recognition of the milestone anniversary.

The charity takes local young people to Columba 1400 on the Isle of Skye to help them develop confidence, team skills and leadership qualities. In the last two years, 32 youngsters from the Levenmouth area have benefited from the charity.

The duke was introduced to a graduate from the Donaldson Leadership Academy, along with some local school children and group of Donaldson's staff.

The company's longest-serving employee Mr Andy Waddell was presented with a certificate by the duke, thanking him for his long and loyal service. Andy has been with Donaldson's for 50 years, and has been present at not only the 150th celebration, but also the 125th and, remarkably, the 100th anniversary celebrations.

To thank Prince Andrew for his visit, Chairman and Chief Executive of James Donaldson & Sons Ltd, Mr Neil Donaldson presented him with a traditional hickory-shafted putter, similar to what would have been used by golfers 150 years ago. The putter which was made in St Andrews was a particularly appropriate gesture, as the 150th Open Championship begins in St Andrews today.

Chairman and Chief Executive of James Donaldson & Sons Ltd, Mr Neil Donaldson comments on the day:

"We are incredibly honoured that His Royal Highness, the Duke of York was able to join us to mark our 150th anniversary. We're humbled that such an esteemed and senior member of the Royal family could spare some time in his schedule to celebrate with us.

"The group of Donaldson's employees and local high school pupils who were available to meet the Duke of York were particularly delighted that he took the time to speak with all of them. We all had a most enjoyable morning, which even the rain couldn't dampen."

James Donaldson Timber Expands South of the Border

12 April 2010
JDT Expands

Leading timber importer and distributor, James Donaldson Timber Ltd (JDT) has expanded its presence into the North West of England, with the opening of a JDT site in Chorley, Lancashire.

The Chorley site previously traded as Alfred Hulme Ltd, since the business was acquired by the James Donaldson & Sons Group in November 2008.

JDT Managing Director, Mr Iain Torrance explains:

"The decision to amalgamate our Leven and Chorley sites into one trading entity enhances the JDT commitment to grow its presence in the market place and is in line with our longer term strategy to offer full UK coverage. This will also bring a number of key benefits for our customers in the way of product offering, supply synergies and enhanced service."

JDT Chorley will continue to manufacture and supply its key product range of MDF Mouldings, Softwood and Panel Products, with a focus on supporting the Merchant sector.

It's been a big year for JDT, as the company was awarded NBG Timber Supplier of the Year in January. The James Donaldson Group of companies is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

James Donaldson Timber Win Timber Supplier of the Year Award

8 February 2010

Timber importer and distributor James Donaldson Timber have started the year with a celebration, following a big win at the NBG Supplier of the Year Awards.

Donaldson Timber was awarded Timber Supplier of the Year at the ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on 18 January.

The national award which is voted for by members was an impressive feat for the Scottish company.

Managing Director of Donaldson Timber, Iain Torrance comments:

"We are over the moon to have won this award - to win a national award voted for by the members is a real accolade. We pride ourselves on being a business based on relationships, and I think this award confirms just that.

"The award is a tribute to all our staff at JDT, who work extremely hard to give our customers what they want. My team has done a fantastic job this past year; we're delighted that this has been recognised. We would like to thank the membership for their ongoing support, and of course for voting for us."

James Donaldson Timber is one of the largest importers and distributors of timber in the UK. It is part of the James Donaldson Group of companies, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.