Report – 40% of EU Imports of Ukrainian Timber ‘Harvested Illegally’

Report – 40% of EU imports of Ukrainian timber ‘harvested illegally’

Some of the world’s largest timber mills are purchasing illegally sourced Ukrainian timber, and selling it on to Europe’s top high street retailers, according to an investigative report.

After a two year probe, the non-profit Earthsight, concluded that illegal timber from Ukraine’s forests is flooding the European market. 70% of Ukraine’s wood is sold to the EU, with EU purchases rising to €1 Billion in 2017. Earthsight reports an estimated 40% of that wood is illegally harvested and traded.

Corruption in Ukraine is considered amongst the highest in the world and with neighbouring government’s failures to enforce timber legality laws (EUTR), suspect wood is entering EU supply chains. The investigation also found fraudulent FSC claims, outlining the challenge of relying on certification schemes in regions of high corruption.

The EU requires those importing timber and timber based products to perform due diligence to ensure negligible risk of illegal timber entering the EU. The onus is therefore on companies to know their supply chain, and to accurately risk assess the sources of their products. Enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation has ramped up in recent years, with fines hitting companies across western Europe.

Read the full report here