Published 25 June 2013

10 weeks on: European Timber Regulations examined

Cologne, Germany, 25th June 2013—A workshop held recently during one of Europe’s largest trade fairs (Interzum) helped clarify the implementation of the “European Timber Regulations” (EUTR) 10 weeks after they became applicable across all Member States in the European Union (EU).

Logging trucks Peru: new EU regulations aim to ensure the legality of all timber supplied to the EU. © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF

Under the EUTR, anyone selling timber and timber products in the EU must implement a system of due diligence to ensure that illegally sourced products are excluded. 

Although there is widespread support for the EUTR, which came into force on 3rd March 2013, there is also a growing misunderstanding and confusion as to how it is being implemented. 

To help overcome this, TRAFFIC, as part of an EC funded project on “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” (FLEGT), joined forces with the Forest Stewardship Council in Germany (FSC-Germany) and l'Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) to organise a workshop on “Global timber trade and legality legislation.” 

Those attending included timber trade professionals, plus timber representatives from the business sector, government authorities and non-governmental organizations. 

The workshop addressed issues such as the business sector’s sense of a lack of information and insecurity as to whether the measures they have in place meet the new legal requirements. 

Experts presented the various tools available to help companies implement due diligence and comply with the EUTR. They include legality frameworks, third party certification, Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) / CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) licences, legality verification systems and other useful tools. 

Tom Osborn, TRAFFIC Programme Co-ordinator in Europe said: “This was an important event which brought together different stakeholders in order to gain a better understanding of the perception and status of the situation 10 weeks after the EUTR became applicable across all EU Member States.”

A panel discussion involving companies trading in timber from South America and Africa examined the current situation in those regions, highlighting some of the current challenges and how to overcome them. The event was followed by a reception which offered the opportunity for attendees to network and discuss the issues further. 

“This event has laid the foundations for establishing collaborative partnerships that will enable the sharing of experiences and nurture more cross-sector support and understanding in order to promote a sustainable and legal global timber trade,” said Joe Nunez-Mino, TRAFFIC’s Timber Trade Programme Officer in Europe. 

Further information on TRAFFIC’s FLEGT project, which is centred on timber trade between South America and the EU, will soon become available on a dedicated website where you will also be able to read about the activities the support good forest governance and legal timber trade.