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EU Timber Regulation

BRIEFING NOTE: EU TIMBER REGULATION

In November 2010, after more than seven years of negotiation, the European Union published “Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 Laying Down the Obligations of Operators who Place Timber and Timber Products on the Market.” This banned the placing of illegal timber and certain, listed wood products on the EU market and put an obligation of due diligence on the operators who import them. See Forest Legality Alliance website

A prohibition on the “first placing” of illegally harvested timber and timber products onto the EU market.
Operators placing timber and timber products onto the EU market for the first time must exercise due diligence to mitigate the risk that this timber has been illegally harvested. Essentially, they must implement a due diligence system which:

1. Provides information about the supply of timber products, including description, species, country of harvest, quantity, name and address of supplier and trader and documents indicating compliance with the applicable legislation


2. Evaluates the risk of placing illegally harvested timber and timber products on the market. Criteria which can be used to assess this risk include:
- assurance of compliance with applicable legislation, including certification schemes, third party verification.
  - prevalence of illegal harvesting of specific tree species
  - prevalence of illegal logging in the country of harvest
  - UN or EU sanctions on timber imports or exports
  - complexity of the supply chain


3. Unless the risk of illegality is negligible, takes steps to mitigate this risk; for example, additional information, third party verification.


- Those trading in timber and timber products within the EU must keep records of sale and purchase.


-The UK will put in place a robust and proportionate regime, including dissuasive penalties, to implement the Regulation. The Competent Authority will carry out checks on operators to ensure compliance, including examination of due diligence systems and on-site checks.


-Operators can either set up their own due diligence systems, or make use of one provided by a Monitoring Organisation. A Monitoring Organisation must also check that those using its due diligence system are doing so correctly, and should take appropriate action if an operator is failing to use its due diligence system properly.

The Regulation came into force on 3rd March 2013.

Public Consultation Call - December 2011

Background:
Illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber is a major problem for many timber-producing countries in the developing world.

Illegal logging causes environmental damage, costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, promotes corruption, undermines the rule of law and good governance and funds armed conflict.

It retards sustainable development in some of the poorest countries of the world.

Consumer countries like Ireland contribute to these problems by importing timber and wood products without ensuring that they are legally sourced.

While in recent years, producer and consumer countries alike have paid increasing attention to illegal logging the problem is still widespread.

Throughout the world, ancient forests are in crisis. Many of the plants and animals that live in these forests face extinction. Many of the peoples and cultures who depend on these forests for their way of life are under threat.

Illegal and unsustainable logging is a key driver of forest destruction and contributes up to one
fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions1. It also has a devastating impact on biodiversity and on
the lives and livelihoods of forest-dependent people.


WWF campaigning helped lead to a new European Union (EU) Regulation in November 2010,
banning illegal timber and certain wood products from being placed on the EU market. This will
come into force in March 2013 and is one of a number of measures the EU is putting in place to
tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber and wood products.


In 2010 Chatham House calculated that around 2.6% of the total import volume of timber and
wood products into the UK were illegal. This equates to around 1.5 million cubic metres (RWE)
of timber2. The illegal timber trade continues to damage forests, communities and wildlife in
forests around the world.


Between August and December 2010, WWF-UK commissioned Earthsight Investigations to
work alongside us to carry out a timber tracking study of a range of products on sale in the UK.
The purpose of the study was to track timber products back down the supply chain to the
forest/concession where the original tree was felled. Using a combination of formal requests,
discussions with timber growers, traders and retailers, phone calls and visits to saw mills in
Indonesia and Malaysia, the study attempted to track timber products on sale in the UK back to
the forests they came from.


The research highlighted how difficult it is to track uncertified timber products back to their
source. The key finding of the study is just how little companies know about their supply chains.
The research also highlights the potential pitfalls these companies face in being able to prove the
environmental credentials of their products and/or suppliers. It raises serious questions about
how prepared UK retailers are for the new EU Illegal Timber Regulation.

March 2011 - Briefing NOTE on NEW Timber Regulation to Forest Service
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.documentBRIEFING NOTE March 2011.docx (4.55 MB)
February 2011 - Download WWF's What Wood You Choose? report here...
application/pdfwhat_wood_you_choose_feb11.pdf (2.61 MB)
JUNE 2010 - Just Forests PRESS Release
application/mswordEU_ban_June2010.doc (42.5 KB)
August 2010 - Submission to the Department of the Environment on Timber Procurement
application/pdfSubmission to DOE on Timber Procurement-august2010.pdf (553.73 KB)
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