EU regulations on the use of illegal timber started to affect the industry!

Timber Regulation

 The Timber and Timber Products Regulations 2013 came into force on 3 March 2013 as the enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The European Parliament and European Council approved legislation, which prohibits the sale of timber logged illegally under the rules of the country of origin. In addition, a system of ‘due diligence’ has been introduced that companies must adhere to in order to ascertain the timber they sell.

Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market – also known as the (Illegal) Timber Regulation counters the trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products through three key obligations:

1. It prohibits the placing on the EU market for the first time of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber;

2. It requires EU traders who place timber products on the EU market for the first time to exercise ‘due diligence’;

Once on the market, the timber and timber products may be sold on and/or transformed before they reach the final consumer. To facilitate the traceability of timber products economic operators in this part of the supply chain (referred to as traders in the regulation) have an obligation to

3. Keep records of their suppliers and customers.

The Regulation covers a wide range of timber products listed in its Annex using EU Customs code nomenclature. The application of the Regulation started from 3rd March 2013 to allow sufficient time for EU operators, timber producers and Member States, as well as trading partners, to prepare and during this period the Commission will adopt more detailed rules.


What is “due diligence”?

The core of the ‘due diligence’ notion is that operators undertake a risk management exercise so as to minimize the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber, on the EU market.

The three key elements of the “due diligence system” are:

3. Information: The operator must have access to information describing the timber and timber products, country of harvest, species, and quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation.

4. Risk assessment: The operator should assess the risk of illegal timber in his supply chain, based on the information identified above and taking into account criteria set out in the regulation.

5. Risk mitigation: When the assessment shows that there is a risk of illegal timber in the supply chain that risk can be mitigated by requiring additional information and verification from the supplier.

The European Commission started to adopt more detailed rules on the “due diligence system” by 3rd June 2012.