"Uncertified" timber is not the same as “unsustainable” timber. The fact that some timber products are uncertified can be a reflection of the technical limitations of existing certification schemes rather than the quality of forest management. Lack of infra-structure, land tenure and political problems have meant slow progress in the tropics. Fragmentation of forest ownership and industry has been a major constraint limiting certification of temperate hardwood forests, notably in the
Two major international frameworks have evolved to oversee and promote development of forest certification. These are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), based in
Under the scope of the EUTR, certified products are not automatically recognised as legal and therefore the obligation to carry out due diligence on certified products is still required. This obligation can be met through the Timber Trade Federation’s Responsible Purchasing Policy. Furthermore, in this framework certified timber is considered as low risk and therefore only minimal due diligence needs to be undertaken on such products.
Both PEFC and FSC are in the final stages of making changes to their Chain of Custody (CoC) systems in order that the EUTR DDS obligations are embedded in their own standards. PEFC’s approach to this has been to bring the DDS system used for sourcing non-controversial sources (formerly known as Annex 2) into the main text of the standard, making DD mandatory for all transactions. The TTF are currently working with PEFC-UK to ensure that CoC auditors are aware of the TTF’s RPP and that this is taken into account when PEFC CoC Audits are undertaken for TTF members. It is expected that the new PEFC CoC Standard will be launched at the end of May. For further details of the changes PEFC are making with regards to the EUTR, click here.
FSC will not be incorporating a DD clause into its standard but making smaller changes to bring the existing standard in line with EUTR terms and definitions. A new CoC standard however is expected to be released mid-way through 2013. In advance of the new CoC Standard, FSC published a new FSC Directive in late February 2013 that provides further clarity and advice on various clauses within the current FSC CoC Standard and how that standard can be adapted to meet EUTR requirements. For more details on FSC’s perspectives on EUTR please see the FSC Q&A information briefing. Finally, for those operators that sell FSC products within the EU, the FSC have also published specific implementation guidance on how the FSC system can help meet EUTR requirements for FSC products.
Total global area of independently certified forest amounted to 325 million hectares at the end of 2008. Around 57% of all certified forest area is in North America while a further 25% is in
Certified softwoods and panel products are now readily available as standard from many suppliers and do not usually attract a price premium. Certified hardwoods may be difficult to obtain and prices may be higher.
The TTF commissioned a report with support from the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) on the volumes of certified and legally verified timber products available in the UK market. The report was published in December 2009 based on data for 2008 and showed that the proportion of certified timber products in the UK had risen to 80%. As a result of the report, the Secretary of State for the Environment, food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP, and Gareth Thomas, International Development Minister have praised the UK's timber industry for its commitment to using certified and sustainable timber. To read the Press Release detailing the Ministers' comments click here. To access a copy of the UK Market Report click here.
The TTF also commissioned a report with support from DFID on the current EU market conditions for “verified legal” and “verified legal and sustainable” wood products. This report provides an overview of the European market for these products in late 2008 and the early part of 2009. It forms part of a regular series to track market conditions, the first four reports covering only the UK. This report extends coverage to 7 countries of the European Union including: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. To access the different sections of the report click below: