EUTR

How can you comply with the EU Timber Regulation?

All European market participants have had to comply with the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) since 2013. And there are many good reasons for its introduction. One is certainly sustainability, as the objective of this important Regulation is to ensure that timber is legally harvested.

However, the EUTR means significant additional costs for companies involved in the timber trade, especially when it comes to assessing and minimising the risk of illegal timber in the supply chain. You can read more about this below, where you will also find out how you can reduce the effort required to comply with the EUTR.

What is the EUTR?

The EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation) has been in force since 2013. And it is an EU-wide regulation that also has international implications. After all, the aim of the EUTR is to prevent illegal logging worldwide. The EUTR stands alongside other regulations with similar objectives, such as the US Lacey Act. However, with significantly higher penalties.

Who is affected by the EUTR?

The requirements of the EU Timber Regulation apply to all operators and traders who import timber or timber products into the EU market or process or trade them in the EU market. There are some exceptions – such as recycled wood products, printed matter, bamboo products or seating furniture. Nevertheless, the majority of timber products are affected by the EUTR.

There are two different roles you can play in the market:

Operators

In this case, you will be the first to place timber and timber products on the EU market. Under the EU Timber Regulation, you are required to implement a due diligence system to ensure that you have not sourced illegally harvested timber for import into the EU. This is often very costly as it is quite time-consuming.

Traders

Those who deal in timber with operators or within the EU market have fewer obligations. Put simply, traders must ensure the traceability of their products. To this end, information about suppliers is stored and passed on to market operators as required.

How is it ensured internationally that timber has not been harvested illegally?

The EUTR Timber Regulation is an important European instrument for ensuring legality in the timber trade. However, this does not mean that European laws are applied in the countries of origin of the wood. Instead, the EUTR stipulates that the respective national regulations apply. If timber is harvested in Vietnam, for example, the laws in force there must be applied. To ensure that operators can buy there safely, suppliers must provide documented proof of compliance with the regulations. The laws governing timber harvesting vary widely around the world, which should be taken into account in any risk assessment.

What do you need to do?

Companies that must comply with the EUTR must collect information (data collection), evaluate risks (risk assessment) and mitigate risks (risk mitigation). Depending on the supply chain, each of these steps can be complex and entail financial risks.

Many of our customers ask themselves: How can I master this complexity? How can I play it safe without my process getting out of hand financially or organisationally?

RADIX Tree offers data management and risk management from a single source.

RADIX Tree automates large parts of the risk analysis and risk assessment for the EUTR. The same goes for data collection, of course. Radix Tree also answers the frequently asked question of which document is needed in which situation. All this reduces the effort and costs for the operator.

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Due diligence

A due diligence system consists of three parts:

  • Information gathering – Our online platform RADIX Tree not only brings together the information and evidence provided by your supply chain partners (including species, forest origin, volume, supplier information and all compliance documents, harvesting permits, third party regulations, etc.). It also supports you with automated data management by automatically informing you which documents you need for each of your products or whether some documents are still missing.
  • Risk assessment – RADIX Tree greatly simplifies the evaluation of the data obtained in the recording process. It shows, for example, whether your trading partners have submitted all the necessary documents or whether you run the risk of buying illegally harvested timber.
  • Risk mitigation – Similar to the analysis, risk mitigation is also demanding in terms of personnel and organisation if it is carried out using traditional methods. RADIX Tree can also transform this process. The latest version of RADIX Tree even offers automatically generated risk assessment reports. You can report on compliance with the EUTR for all your products at the touch of a button.

What can we do for you?

At Global Traceability Solutions, we have many years of experience in the field of compliance management. We offer solutions for the due diligence obligations of the EUTR since its introduction in 2013.

In the past, we handled a large part of compliance management for our customers manually. With RADIX Tree, we have developed new functions and automations that make EUTR compliance much easier, safer and more cost-effective.

See for yourself what this tool can do.

RADIX Tree – automated data collection, risk analysis and risk mitigation

  • RADIX Tree enables the automated collection of data.
  • It simplifies the risk assessment because you can also work automatically here.
  • It simplifies risk minimisation.
  • At the same time, RADIX Tree allows you to work securely and in compliance with the law.
  • RADIX Tree can also handle reporting to authorities on request.
  • It uses templates that make your work very easy.
  • RADIX Tree offers you service packages to suit the size of your company – individually expandable and customisable.
  • The biggest advantage of RADIX Tree, however, is that this smart tool minimises your financial investment when complying with the EUTR.
screenshot of radix tree platform

Questions and answers on the EUTR

We have compiled the most frequently asked questions and answers about the EUTR.

The EUTR provides for a somewhat complicated distinction between different wood-based materials .

The EUTR applies to all 27 member states as well as Iceland, Norway and Lictenstein. Since Brexit, the UK has incorporated the EUTR into its own regulation, which means that UK companies must also subject their products to due diligence (with some complications for Northern Ireland, see here). Switzerland is also introducing a Timber Regulation that is equivalent to the EUTR. More about Switzerland here.

As already mentioned, you must ensure that the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation are met by your products. If you fail to do so, you will be subject to sanctions and penalties in the event of an audit. The consequences can vary in severity from country to country. Possible sanctions are:

  • Confiscation of wood and wood products
  • Suspension of trading
  • Fines (in Germany up to 50,000 euros per individual product)
  • It is also not uncommon for competitors or other non-profit organizations to send warning letters

Compliance with the EUTR is monitored by the authorities of the individual member states, in Germany for example by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), where the EUTR was transposed into national law with the Timber Trade Security Act (HolzSiG).