Since 3 March 2013, the EU wood regulation (EUTR) which obliges companies introducing forest products on the European market to put in place systems of due diligence to reduce the risk of importing illegally sourced wood.
Failure by the buyer to demonstrate compliance with 'due diligence', or worse still, the confirmation of an actual entry into the European Union of illegal timber, will result in the application of very heavy penalties.
Together with stone, wood is the oldest and most widespread building material and it is also ecological because woods and forests are renewable perennial sources, if handled with care. The problem of wood is not its availability, but the poor management of resources and the non-observance of the rules for the protection of protected areas (such as the primary forest).
That's why for the honest timber producers and traders It is crucial that wood products resulting from illicit trade (not certified) do not affect the value and reputation of legally sourced products.
And that's why even theAmerican Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), representative of one of the largest global hardwood export industries, supported the European Union's commitment to make operational the EU wood regulation.
“The EUTR is an opportunity to emphasize the leadership of the wood industry in the development of a truly sustainable supply chain. With the approval of the EUTR, the wood industry will be the first important sector to demonstrate that 100% of the raw material introduced into the EU presents a very low risk of illegal origin ", said the European director of AHEC David Venables.
The strength of the new EUTR regulation is the flexibility regarding the demonstration of the legality of the products, so as not to be vexatious towards the operators who have always been honest and not to penalize the wood compared to other building materials, concrete and steel for example, which have no traceability obligation.
The new EU regulation avoids imposing new controls on suppliers in regions with an effective legal framework. Furthermore, the EUTR does not require the authorities to check individual consignments to ascertain their legal origin, but to verify the efficiency of wood management systems of EU importers in order to reduce the risk of illicit trafficking. In doing so, the EUTR supports the practices of due diligence that many responsible European companies have been adopting for years.
EUTR prescribes the European timber importers to be able to identify for each product group "The country, and possibly the region, of killing by presenting the relevant authorization". Additional information can be requested only where the European importer believes that the risk of illegal abatement varies from region to region of the same country or depending on the concessions within the same region.