Wood and wood products find their use from ordinary everyday items to large constructions that can last centuries. All this thanks to an innovative industry. Sourcing of illegal wood can however have devastating consequences such as deforestation, loss of habitats and biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, which is affecting all of us and our shared future. The European Timber Regulation (EUTR) has been put in to force to fight trade with illegally harvested wood and wood products. Here is why you should implement the EUTR now:
- Improve your business. Consumers are driving demand for responsibly-sourced forestry products and awareness is on the rise. Mapping your supply chain and managing risks of sourcing illegal material as required by the EUTR is an important first step on the path to a responsible sourcing practice. By doing so, you are contributing to legal and sustainable timber trade globally.
- Do not break the law. Since 2013, the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) has made it the legal responsibility of each EU member state and businesses who initially place wood or wood products on the EU market (defined as ‘Operators’) to prove the source of origin of wood and wood products. The EUTR commits all 27 EU Member States to exercise effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties on those who break the rules.
- Risks are considerable. According to estimates by Interpol, the international policing organisation, as much as 15 to 30 per cent of all wood and wood products traded on the global market are illegally sourced. How to identify and mitigate these risks is difficult but not impossible. Understanding your supply chain is the first step and the Sourcing Hub has been designed to help you.
- Avoid penalties and prosecution. Enforcement of the EUTR has gained pace with competent authorities in the EU member states, custom agencies, and local stakeholders now acting by prosecuting Operators not complying. Penalties are severe and can include large fines, confiscation of stock and even imprisonment.
- Unlawful deforestation is a global threat, which continues to develop at an alarming rate. 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed each year, accounting for 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions contributing to the climate crisis. Companies, also known as ‘Operators’, active on the European market have a clear obligation to control their supply chains, making sure their businesses are not supporting the destructive trade in illegal timber.
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