Wednesday, 07 November 2012
FSC Ready for the EU Timber Regulation
The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) enters into force in March 2013. It obliges companies putting wood and wood products on the EU market to make sure that no illegally harvested timber is involved.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the multi-stakeholder organisation that has created the world’s most reliable and trusted system for responsible forest management, is a strong supporter of policies that fight illegal forestry practices.
The EUTR and its implementing laws set conditions for private certification schemes to be used by companies importing wood or wood products, to reduce the risk that illegal timber is traded on the market. These conditions are stringent and, if systematically applied, would recognise only the most reliable schemes such as FSC.
With a robust system for accreditation, independent verification and dispute resolution, FSC is the most reliable sustainable forest management scheme worldwide. Yearly field audits, as the EU requires, are common practise. The FSC system, furthermore, is transparent and its complaints procedure accessible to all stakeholders.
FSC has been working to ensure that its system is compliant with the EUTR and to ensure that certificate holders are fully informed with respect to the regulation. To this end, three advice notes were adopted through consultation with FSC members and stakeholders, to ensure that importing companies are able to provide EUTR inspectors information about the origin and nature of the timber involved, and ensure that FSC certified products do not contain “minor components” of unknown origin.
One final step needs to be taken, triggered by a document the European Commission published this week, which specifies a requirement of certainty that companies exporting the wood or wood products from the country of origin comply with trade and customs laws. FSC is working to ensure that the relevant FSC certificate holders will provide this information as well.
The following three advice notes are published in the updated FSC Directive on Chain of Custody Certification (FSC-DIR-40-004):
1. Advice note on non-conforming product (FSC-ADVICE-40-004-08)
2. Advice note on minor components derogations (FSC-ADVICE-40-004-09)
3. Advice note on access to information regarding species and origin of timber (FSC-ADVICE-40-004-10)
The updated FSC Directive on Chain of Custody Certification containing the three new advice notes is accessible here.
The Questions & Answers Document about FSC and the EU Timber Regulation is currently being updated. The updated version will be published shortly.