Switzerland will begin enforcement of the Timber Trade Ordinance (Holzhandelsverordnung – HHV/L’ordonnance sur le commerce du bois – OCBo/La nuova ordinanza sul commercio di legno – OCoL) from 1st January 2022.
The new regulation will be equivalent to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), requiring operators (first-placers) placing timber products onto the market to implement due diligence and perform risk assessments.
The aim of the regulation is that no wood or wood products that have been illegally felled or traded are placed on the market in Switzerland. It is also important for reducing trade barriers with the EU.
What does it mean for businesses?
Anyone who imports wooden products into Switzerland for the first time will be responsible for ensuring they have been legally harvested and traded. They must implement due diligence.
Significantly, imports from the EU will also be subject to the regulation. Swiss operators must have confirmation of the first-placing on the EU market (this would confirm the EU operator has already performed EUTR due diligence).
Companies already operating within the EU market will be familiar with the due diligence requirements – although enforcement can vary across member states. The Swiss regulation also follows the UK’s transfer of EUTR rules to their own UKTR, creating a near uniform approach across the European continent.
What is due diligence?
A due diligence system involves three pillars. Information gathering, risk assessment and risk mitigation.
To begin, operators must gather information from their direct supplier – documents evidencing wood species, country of origin etc.
An assessment can then be undertaken on the risks that the product may include illegally harvested timber.
The risk criteria will include the following:
- Type of wood product (i.e. composite, solid wood, paper, pulp)
- The spread of illegal logging in specific tree species
- The frequency of illegal logging practices at the site of logging
- The complexity of the supply chain
- The legislation of the country of origin and the corresponding risk of corruption
Global Traceability has years of experience implementing due diligence systems with our clients. Our risk assessment services support a thorough information gathering process on RADIX Tree before our experts assess the evidence provided. Get in touch for more information.