Illegal activities in the timber industry undermine the efforts of responsible operators; it is a global problem with significant negative economic, environmental and social impact.
In 2013 the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) became applicable in all EU Member States.
The following products with their CN-codes are included:
Wood and wooden articles: a diverse range of rough (parts of) woods; such as laminated, flooring, boards, frames, packing, barrels and carpentry. CN-codes: 4401, 4403, 4406, 4407, 4408, 4409, 4410, 4411, 4412, 4413 00 00, 4414 00, 4415, 4416 00 00 and 4418;
Paper and pulp: all products in CN chapters 47 (pulp of wood, paper and paperboard) and 48 (articles of paper or pulp), with the exception of bamboo-based and recovered products;
Wooden furniture: for office (9403 30), kitchen (9403 40), bedroom (9403 50 00), other wooden furniture (9403 60) and parts of wood (9403 90 30).
The following products with their CN-codes are exempted:
• Tools, broom or brush bodies and handles of wood (4417);
• Wood marquetry and inlaid wood; caskets and cases for jewellery or cutlery, and similar articles, of wood; statuettes and other ornaments, of wood; wooden articles of furniture not falling in Chapter 94 (4420);
• Printed books, newspapers, pictures, other printed products(chapter 49);
• Walkingsticksandumbrellas(chapter 66);
• Spoons (chapter 82);
• Clocks and watches (chapter 91); • Musical instruments (chapter92);
• Seats (9401), including wood framed dining room chairs, office chairs, garden chairs and benches (non-upholstered: 9401 6900 00) and sofas and arm chairs (upholstered: 9401 6100 00);
• Lamps and lighting fittings (9405);
• Toys, games and sports requisites (chapter 95);
• Brooms and brushes (9603);
• Pens and pencils (9608, 9609);
• Works of art, collectors piecesand antiques (chapter 97).
Usage of recycled timber is encouraged by the EU, therefore used timber and timber products that “have completed their lifecycle”, and would otherwise be disposed of as waste are excluded also from the scope of the EUTR.
If you are an operator, a person that places timber (products) on the market, then you should:
• Notplace any illegally harvested timber (products) on the market;
• Exercise ‘due diligence’ and use relevant procedures (‘due diligence system’).
If you are a trader, a person who sells or buys timber (products) already placed on the market by operators, then you should provide traceability of the products in the supply chain and keep records:
• Be able to identify your suppliers, either other traders or operators;
• Be able to identify all traders you have supplied to.
Due diligence means that operators have to do a risk assessment to minimise the risk that they are involved in products with illegally harvested timber.
The are three key elements:
You must have access to information describing the timber species and timber products, country of harvest (concessions), quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation and customs regulation;
You should assess the risk of illegal timber in your supply chain, based on the information mentioned above and taking into account criteria set out in the regulation;
If the assessment shows that there is a risk of illegal timber in the supply chain that risk can be mitigated by requiring additional information and verification from your supplier.
Additionally Regulation (EU) 607/2012 provides detailed rules for due diligence systems.
It includes the obligation for operators to apply due diligence on each type of timber for each supplier at regular intervals of less than 12 months.
Operators shall be able to demonstrate how information was gathered, what criteria were used for the risk assessment and how decisions on risk mitigation were taken.
The corruption perception index (CPI) is a score that gives you information about the risk of corruption in countries that harvest or export your timber (products). The CPI score can be used in the risk assessment; countries with an index score below 50 may require extra attention.
The leading timber producing countries and their 2020 scores are:
USA (67), India (40), China (42), Brazil (38), Canada (77), Russia (30), Indonesia (37), Ethiopia (38), Nigeria (25) and Congo (19).
You can find all corruption scores at: cpi.transparency.org
The EU has recognised so-called monitoring organisations that have developed systems to support operators with the execution of the due diligence obligations.
On 15 December 2020 the following organisations were recognised:
Formally FSC, PEFC and similar service providers are not recognised as part of the EU Timber Regulation but their certificates provide valuable information about the timber, the supply chain and it supports you in assessing and mitigating your risks.
Always compare the origin, species and quantity mentioned on the certificates above with your own order details.
FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) negotiates voluntary partnership agreements with timber-producing countries to create a legal framework for licenses and trade.
Timber products from a VPA- country should come with a valid FLEGT license dealt with by EU customs, a FLEGT license proves that timber is legal.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) issues permits for timber that complies with national legislation in the exporting country. Timber products with avalid CITES license are from a legal source.
Check the European Commission’s website for more information on timber: EC Environment.