The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force March 2013. Failure to act NOW could see operators and traders facing a criminal charge. Below you will find five key things you need to know and how the TTF can help.
The EU Timber Regulation came into force in the UK on 3rd March 2013. It bans illegal timber and timber and fibre in the EU and requires anyone handling wood or wood products to assess the risk that those products may have come from an illegal source and acts to mitigate that risk. This is known as due diligence and, like all due diligence, it must happen before you buy the product. It has to be undertaken even if the product is certified.
The law states that you must keep a record of the supplier, the product species, where it comes from, and the amount bought. You must also record your risk assessment on the product.
In determining the level of risk you must use credible information about the country of origin, the supplier, the product and any other sources of information. You should not place an order for a product until you have been through this process and taken any necessary measures to minimise your risk from the product. You should also record what action you are taking to reduce your risk going forward.
If you are buying a product that is already in the EU and on which due diligence has taken place you need to keep records from whom you bought the product and to whom you sold it.
It is important to note that even timber products purchased before the 3rd March 2013 deadline will be caught by the legislation if they are delivered after that date. This means that you should be conducting risk assessment NOW given lead times for some products.
An operator is required to carryout a Due Diligence System (DDS) that must include the following elements which are clearly outlined in Article 6 of the EUTR:
- Access to information about the supply of timber and timber products, including description, trade name and type of product, tree species, country of harvest, quantity, name and address of the supplier and trader, and documents or other information indicating compliance with the applicable legislation.
- The risk assessment procedures enabling the operator to analyse and evaluate the risk of illegally harvested timber products on the market. Such procedures shall take into account:
- Assurance of compliance with applicable legislation, which may include certification and/or third party verified schemes
- Prevalence of illegal harvesting of specific tree species
- Prevalence of illegal harvesting or practices in the country of harvest and/or sub-national region
- UN or EU sanctions imposed on timber imports or exports
- Complexity of the supply chain of timber and timber products
- Except where the risk identified is negligible, risk mitigation procedures should be undertaken which may include additional information or third party verification.
- A trader is required to provide basic traceability information, indicating from whom they purchase and to whom they sell their products. These records must be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
Due diligence system consist of three elements: (i) access to relevant information, (ii) risk assessment and (iii) mitigation of the risks identified.
Competent authorities are nominated from each Member State. They are responsible for the application of the Regulation.
Illegally harvested means harvested in contravention of the applicable legislation in the country of harvest.
The Regulation concerns round wood, fuel wood and pulp and paper products; not included are printed books and products made from recycled material.
Penalties will be defined by the member states.
The Regulation entered into force in December 2010 and will be applied as from 3 March 2013.