EU Timber Regulation study evaluates best practice
The final report of the EUTR Support Study, which looked at the most effective ways of meeting various requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), was published in July 2011. It provides background information for the secondary legislation needed before the Regulation comes into force in March 2013, taking into account existing best practices. EFI acted as coordinator of the project, working with Indufor, Finland and the University of Padova, Italy.
Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 is designed to counter trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products as part of the fight against deforestation. It will mean that operators (all entities who place timber or timber products on the EU market for the first time) have to prove that the timber/timber product is from a legal source. This process is called ‘due diligence’. The trader will have to have access to information about the timber/timber products (eg country of harvest, species, details of the supplier), and based on this information must assess the risk level of the supply.
The EUTR study focused on two main areas – what the ‘due diligence’ systems (DDS) for operators could look like, and how third party monitoring organisations can be accredited.
‘Due diligence’ systems
The team found that the variety of operators (who could be anything from a small garden centre to a global-sized corporation) made one single DDS a difficult proposition - the DDS should be tailored to the operator’s conditions and resources. There is a need for information services to ease the administrative burden – this would give a more consistent approach, and make it less costly and more efficient for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop/implement their own DDSs.
Very few SMEs are aware of EUTR, and there is an urgent need for awareness raising. While many SMEs will be considered as “traders” according to the EUTR (in this case only traceability is required) and are not at risk of having to change their normal business methods, small importers/merchants with lots of complex product lines and high-risk timber sources (eg tropical hardwood) are more vulnerable.
Recognition of monitoring organisations
Part 2 of the study looked at monitoring organizations (MOs), and the requirements and procedures for their recognition. It analysed existing practices and recommended a procedure for the recognition process.
The study’s recommendations will be considered by the European Commission, which is due to adopt more detailed rules by 3 rd June 2012.
More information: Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Assistant Director of EFI or Hubert Inhaizer, Forest/Environmental Policy Expert, EFICENT-OEF (firstname.lastname
Report is available here.
Photo by Hubert Inhaizer
This project was carried out with financial support from the European Union. The contents of this article can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.