Knowing where a product originates and the route it takes to the end user defines the corporate, social and ethical risk it poses. Understanding this supply chain and its complexities provides businesses a positive decision-making tool with which to manage risk; risks that are of increasing interest to a variety of stakeholders.
For over 15 years Ligna has been supporting supply-chain management, developing and implementing responsible purchasing processes, assessing controlled wood and working with a wide cross-section of the timber trade. We have experience working in and with contacts from North and South America, Southern, West and East Africa, India, Asia and the ‘Pacific-rim’ states.
Since the turn of the century both understanding and action on the illegal logging agenda has slowly galvanised. The FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) programme of the EU, established in 2003, has developed mechanisms to assist poorer producer countries to improve the operation of forest law. Some VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreements) between these producer countries and EU member states have been signed which, when they come to fruition, will virtually guarantee the supply of legally harvested timber and associated products. And, in the US, the Lacey Act was updated in May 2008 to include a prohibition on trade in illegal wood. Hot on the heels of the US Lacey Act update comes the EUTR or, to quote it fully:
Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council
Signed into Law in 2010, it will officially come in to force from March 2013. In short, the purpose of the legislation is to prohibit the placing of illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market. The regulation applies to all companies sourcing timber and timber products, including composites and unprinted paper, from outside of the EU 27 member states.
It requires that the first company introducing product into the EU (so called ‘operators’) operate a Due Diligence system for assessing, managing and mitigating the risk of illegal timber entering the EU and thereby verifying the legality of supply.
The National Measurement Office will be the UK ‘competent authority’ for overseeing the implementation and policing of the EUTR. As for understanding how implementation will work in practice, it is still a work in progress, as at November 2012.
Ligna is keeping as up to date as possible on all aspects of EUTR and has a watching brief on the EU, NMO and other agencies involved. Through our participation at the biannual Illegal Logging workshops at Chatham House and close ties to the UK TTF, World Resources Institute and the trade, we are well placed to help companies adapt to this changing policy environment.
In the UK we work with over one hundred businesses each year in the timber and timber products sector, ranging from SMEs to blue chip organisations. We have already successfully developed Due Diligence Systems for a number of companies and, working with the Timber Trades Federation, have helped develop and audit their Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP).
For more information on the EUTR, please see the What is the EUTR? explanation or contact us for information as to how we can help you comply.