What is the EU Timber Regulation?
The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force in 2013 prohibiting the placing of illegally harvested timber in the European market. The regulation is a major part of the EU’s effort to reduce deforestation and protect at risk tree species as part of the EU Forest, Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.
It is implemented in all countries in the EU and the EEA (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and will be replicated in the UK following Brexit.
It applies to timber harvested in both the EU and internationally, obligating businesses to assess and mitigate any risks that the timber in their products has come from an illegal source.
The EUTR is replicated in the UK with the UK Timber Regulation (UKTR) with the same product scope and due diligence requirements. The practical implications following Brexit are outlined here.
Which products does it cover?
The EUTR and UKTR covers a specific list of wood and timber based products with some distinctions and exemptions. Click here for a list of all products covered in the regulation. It is always important to check for the latest information from the EU and the products listed in the regulation’s annex. The EU has consulted key stakeholders on extending the scope of products, with updates expected in 2019.
Products currently EXCLUDED from the regulation are:
- Recycled/waste products
- Books and newspaper
- Packaging – (NOTE – only if it is exclusively a packing material to support, protect or carry another product placed on the market. For example, the box your product was delivered in is excluded. Packaging sold in its own right is included in the regulation)
- Printed matter – books, magazines, photos where the print itself is the product. (NOTE – other types of paper or tissue is included)
- Certain bamboo products – Plaited or woven bamboo, pulp and paper from bamboo, seats made from bamboo
- Seated furniture – including sofas, chairs
- Medical furniture
Who does it affect?
The regulation classifies two types of businesses responsible for complying with the EUTR, affecting those based both within and outside the European Union.
Any person or business who first places timber on the market. Operator’s must maintain records of any traders that you supply timber to and implement a due diligence system.
Any person or business who sells or buys timber or timber products that have already been placed on the EU market. As a trader you must maintain and keep records for at least five years of 1) those who supplied the timber product to you 2) those you have supplied the timber products to.
How to comply with the EU Timber Regulation
As stated above, operators must implement a due diligence system to assess and potentially mitigate against risks of illegally harvested timber entering their supply chain. The EU is not prescriptive on the exact method – a business can run their own, work with a monitoring organisation or make use of other service providers like Global Traceability. However the 3 core due diligence pillars must be followed – Information, risk assessment and risk mitigation.
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