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15th June 2018


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Can't see the wood for the trees?

On 3rd March 2013, a new EU Timber Regulation, which will affect the entire furniture supply chain, comes into force.

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) was initiated due to increasing concerns over unsustainable forest management practices and illegal logging. Studies have suggested that approximately 20% of timber and timber products, entering the European market, originate from an illegal source.*

Essentially, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the sale of illegally harvested timber and wooden products such as certain items of furniture on to the European market. The Regulation defines companies that first place timber and timber products on the European market as 'Operators' and requires them to implement a robust, due diligence system in order to identify, manage and mitigate the risk of sourcing illegally harvested timber or timber products. The EUTR also establishes obligations for 'Traders', who buy and sell timber and timber products within the European market, to maintain sufficient records to enable supply chain traceability.

A wide variety of timber and timber-containing products is covered, including:

* Sawn and machined wood
* Composite boards such as fibreboard, particleboard and plywood
* Veneering sheets
* Non-upholstered furniture
* Garden furniture

An appendix to the Regulation summarises those items covered by the Regulation, and references a more comprehensive listing as categorised by the products' allocated commodity codes.

FIRA plans to hold a series of training sessions, aimed at those within the UK furniture industry. These courses will cover important issues such as:

* The roles of organisations within the furniture supply chain
* Obligations of 'Operators' and 'Traders'
* Measures and procedures for performing satisfactory due diligence
* Maintaining records and other documentation for supply chain traceability
* Responsible timber purchasing best practice
* The roles of 'Monitoring Organisations' and 'Competent Authorities'
* The role of Chain of Custody certification schemes

Courses have been arranged for 24th January and 14th February 2013.

Peter Beele, who represents FIRA on the BSI Steering Committee for the development of a useful guide to the Regulation (soon to be published Publicly Available Specification 2021), says:

"Illegal logging has a series of social and environmental effects such as unsustainable deforestation, lost revenue for the countries concerned and corruption that undermines the rule of law. Whilst addressing the Regulation will require some effort from those within the timber and wood products supply chains, it is clearly important that the practice of illegal logging be prevented due to its negative impacts on some of the world's poorest economies."

It is important to note that the Regulation is purely concerned with the legality of timber and not the sustainability or environmental aspects of harvesting.

FIRA's one-day EU Timber Regulation Awareness course is specifically designed for importers, compliance managers, quality managers and procurement staff and covers issues such as:

* Who is affected by the regulations and their obligations
* How to develop and implement a due diligence system to mitigate the risk of illegal timber
* Good practices for responsible timber trading, including communicating due diligence to interested parties

James Bell, FIRA International's Environmental Consultant, says:

"We have specifically designed our EU Timber Regulation Awareness course series to assist the industry in understanding and meeting their legal obligations when importing, selling and trading timber and timber products in the European Union."

* (WWF 2012: http://barometer.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/government_barometer/the_eu_timber_footprint/eu_wood_imports/).

For further information, or to register a place on the course, contact James via:

T: +44 (0) 1438 777 602
E: jbell@fira.co.uk
W: www.fira.co.uk

11th January 2013

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