Illegal logging has severe economic, environmental and social impacts: it is associated with deforestation and climate change, it can undermine the efforts and livelihoods of legitimate operators, and it can also contribute to conflicts over land and resources.
The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market in an effort to tackle the problem of illegal logging across the world. It sets out requirements that companies within the European Union (EU) must meet to minimize the risk of illegal timber being traded.
More specifically, the Regulation requires companies placing timber or timber products on the European market (both imported and domestic) to implement a Due Diligence System (DDS).
Companies trading wood products within the EU are responsible for keeping records of their suppliers and customers to allow for traceability.
The Regulation also affects companies outside the EU as their products may be imported into the EU further down the supply chain. The EUTR covers a broad range of timber products including solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper.
Key Elements of the EUTR DDS
The EUTR Due Diligence System (DDS) includes the following three elements to minimize the risk that timber products come from illegal harvesting:
- Information: Companies must have access to information specifying the timber and timber products, country of harvest, species, quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation.
- Risk assessment: Based on the information provided and criteria set out in the EUTR, companies must assess the risk of illegal timber in their supply chain. Supplies with 'negligible' risk may be traded further.
- Risk mitigation: In case of 'non-negligible' risk of timber products being illegal, risk mitigation measures can minimize the risk effectively. Measures may range from requiring additional information from suppliers and/or requesting the supplier to obtain PEFC certification for example.