LIFE Legal Wood: ensuring better compliance with the EUTR

Through the LIFE Legal Wood project, initiatives are being promoted to raise awareness, build capacity and enforce the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) to close the gaps on illegal timber trade.

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Photo: LIFE Legal Wood project

The LIFE Legal Wood project, aimed at helping companies adapt to the requirements of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR), has just launched a survey in different countries to gather the experience of all the actors involved in the implementation of the EUTR Regulation in those territories. The survey aims to obtain an accurate reflection of current problems and future needs so that LIFE Legal Wood members can contribute to advising on the correct implementation of the EUTR.

The Cesefor Foundation is part of this European initiative and, together with 11 other partners, intends to develop a series of measures to improve and increase the capacity of the main stakeholders in the implementation of the EUTR, through training workshops and training videos. They also aim to improve the availability and quality of information on the risks of timber imports, through the continuous updating of legislation in each country, the improvement of existing tools for assessing the risks of imports and the expansion of risk assessment in at least 10 more countries. All these measures will aim to increase the knowledge of the main stakeholders regarding the availability and dissemination of information, as well as the positive dissemination of the EUTR.

Together with Spain, the international non-profit organization NEPCon (Economics of Nature and Connected People) participates in the project as project leader as well as countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. On a national level, Cesefor collaborates with the Basque Country Wood Association (Baskegur), the Forestry Association of Navarre (Foresna) and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, establishing a working group to develop all the activities planned in our country.

The survey, aimed at those companies established in partners countries affected by the EUTR, is available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch and Italian.

The main objective of the work plan proposed by this project is to find out, at regional and national level, the number of companies to which the EUTR applies. To this end, the partners will maintain a round of contacts, carry out a study for which this survey has been launched and organise several dissemination workshops at the national level.

Photo: LIFE Legal Wood project

Training and raising awareness: keys to stop illegal trade

Despite the introduction of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) and increased monitoring and policing efforts, the EU remain one of the largest markets for the global trade in illegal timber. Illegal logging account for 15-30% globally and a total worth of up to €90 billion with a significant share sold on the European markets, according to a recent investigation by Interpol.

“There is clearly a need to stem the flow of illegal timber into the EU by strengthening the implementation of EUTR and due diligence in member states. The continued import of uncertified wood reflects a deep lack of knowledge, which can potentially lead to penalties. Working with partners across Europe, LIFE Legal Wood will create a stronger awareness of the issues involved and provide seminars and free tools to remove illegal timber from supply chains,” said Jakob Ryding, Technical Project Manager at NEPCon.

LIFE Legal Wood will include a range of actions aimed at strengthening the compliance with EUTR in the European timber and furniture industry, including free workshops for small and medium sized enterprises, risk database and facilitating stakeholder networks to enable more direct collaboration.

“Ultimately the project’s aim is to reduce illegal logging and improve forest management globally. This will only happen if we work closely together with importers as well as local authorities to improve efficiency, awareness and compliance in the European timber industry,” concludes Jakob Ryding.