Industry News

Fern releases new 'Forest Watch' Bulletin focused on countries negotiating VPAs with EU

The environmental NGO Fern and the online resource LoggingOff.info have published a special edition of Forest Watch focused on "VPA Update: A year on from FLEGT licensing".

The publication explores the situation in the countries negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union from a civil society perspective.

"A year after the first FLEGT licences from Indonesia entered the EU market (15 November 2016), it is expected that Ghana will soon become the second country to export FLEGT-licensed timber to the EU and the first in Africa," says the report.

"While this represents significant and highly symbolic progress, the greatest advance in the last six months has, however, been with the second plank of the FLEGT Action Plan: the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which makes it a criminal offence to put illegally sourced timber on the EU market."

The Forest Watch FLEGT VPA updates are produced in collaboration with the UK Department for International Development and the European Union.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/fern-releases-new-forest-watch-bulletin-focused-countries-negotiating-vpas-eu]

'Belgian Market is safe from illegal timber imports,' says Fedustria

In a press release dated 4 October 2017, the European Commission reported that "Belgium, where important quantities of timber are placed on the EU market, has not managed to carry out a significant number of verifications since the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) [...] Therefore, the Commission decided to raise the matter with the Belgian authorities by sending a letter of formal notice. Belgium has two months to reply."

Fedustria - the federation of the Belgian textile, woodworking and furniture industry - has now released a clarification note underlining that the Belgian Timber Importers are doing their utmost - in accordance with EUTR due diligence requirements - to mitigate the risks of illegal timber entering the Belgian market. In details:

  • Since the entry into force of the EUTR in 2013, Belgian timber importers, who are members of the federation, have taken full responsibility for inspecting and guaranteeing the legality of the products they import. This is essential for them to be able to continue supplying these products in the future. As such, they work together with all parties concerned, and take the necessary initiatives;
  • It is true that no intensive inspections have been carried out in Belgium in recent years. For years, the federation has been the requesting party in terms of expanding these inspections, and we are pleased to see that new inspectors were recruited at the start of September. However, the assertion by Greenpeace that the system does not work since no sanctions have been imposed to date goes way too far. On the contrary, it demonstrates that the audited companies are applying EUTR obligations effectively;
  • Not all timber that is unloaded in Antwerp (or other ports) is destined for the Belgian market and cleared by Belgian customs. The Belgian government is solely responsible for the timber and timber products which are actually placed on the market in Belgium, and not for timber in transit. The authorities in the country of destination are responsible in this respect.

"Fedustria and the timber importing member companies advocate open dialogue and cooperation with governments and stakeholders in order to contribute to the correct application of the obligations arising from the EU timber regulation," said the Federation.

"As a federation for both timber importing and timber processing companies, we would like to emphasise once again that we have every interest in managing forests in a sustainable manner. After all, our future is inherently linked to the protection and expansion of forests. Moreover, sustainable forest management - including timber harvest - contributes to the further development of producer countries."

For more info, it's possible to contact Filip De Jaeger, tel. 02 528 58 61, GSM 0486 898 184, e-mail filip.dejaeger@fedustria.be or Ingrid Hontis, tel. 02 528 58 46, e-mail ingrid.hontis@fedustria.be

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/belgium-safe-illegal-timber-imports-says-fedustria]

NEPCon launches new Data Hub to help companies source legal timber

NEPCon has launched its NEPCon Sourcing Hub, one of the biggest and most detailed collections of forest-related risk assessments available on the market.

All information on the Sourcing Hub is free for anyone to use and to download and aims to help companies meet due diligence requirements of market regulation such as the EU Timber Regulation. The Hub contains assessments of the risks of illegal timber production and trade in 62 countries, covering 87% of global timber production.

Alongside providing detailed data on timber, the Sourcing Hub contains risk assessments for palm oil, soy and beef addressing environmental, social and legality risks in 10 countries. The System identifies all legislation applicable to harvesting, transport and trade in each country, divided up into 21 different areas of law that are applicable to the EU Timber Regulation.

The Hub also lists the documents that are legally required for harvesting, transport and trade in each country, such as harvest permits, transport permits and business licences. Where the risks of illegality vary for different types of forest, the Tool also gives a separate risk conclusion. For example, if timber from one geographical area of a country has fewer risks than another, or if timber from plantations has fewer risks than timber from natural forests, the Hub is able to identify this. 

The Hub is funded by the European Commission; the UK Department for International Development; Danida, part of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM; and NEPCon.

“We’ve designed the NEPCon Sourcing Hub to make it as simple as possible for companies to carry out the due diligence they’re required to do by the EU Timber Regulation,” said Alexandra Banks, Forest Legality Expert. “By helping companies source legal timber, the NEPCon Sourcing Hub will help the legal timber trade around the world prosper.”

For a video presentation of the Hub, click here.

NEPCon is also holding free training workshops on the EU Timber Regulation and the NEPCon Sourcing Hub in 12 EU countries in the autumn, as part of its legality projects. Find out more here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/nepcon-launches-new-data-hub-help-companies-source-legal-timber]

AHEC unveils interactive map showing US Hardwood Forests' volumes, growth and removals

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has launched an interactive map showing hardwood forests' growth, removal and volume in the United States.

The map displays data collected by the U.S. Forest Service on a national, state and county level providing regularly updated information for most of the main commercial American hardwood species.

“It’s a dynamic tool that accurately reflects what’s going on in the forest and it will dramatically change the way we promote the sustainability of American hardwoods,” said Mike Snow, AHEC executive director.

It’s a new way for communicating environmental credentials and will make it easier for architects, designers and wood industries to demonstrate the sustainability of the timber they use.”

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ahec-unveils-interactive-map-showing-us-hardwood-forests-volumes-growth-and-removals]

TTF launches "Timber You Can Trust Campaign" to promote responsible timber sourcing

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently launched a new Campaign - ‘Timber you can Trust’ - for the purpose of promoting responsible timber sourcing to local authorities and Industry stakeholders.

"As councils across the UK commit to build new homes in increasing numbers, the need for sustainably sourced construction materials has also grown," explains the TTF in a news release. "The TTF wants to partner with local authorities to ensure that high standards of responsible sourcing are maintained in local government and in procurement policies across the private sector."

Launching the campaign, David Hopkins, TTF’s Managing Director, said: “I’m excited to be working with local government to increase awareness about the importance of responsible timber sourcing, the good management of forests, and the sustainability of the whole timber supply chain.”

“Timber is the world’s leading renewable, low carbon construction material. Responsible procurement is at the heart of a low-carbon future." 

“We’ve just seen hundreds of new councillors elected across the country, a lot of whom have come with ambitions of encouraging new sustainable housing developments across their communities. Similarly, through the CTI and the Timber Industries APPG, we will be seeking to work with MPs across the UK”.

The TTF is inviting its members and stakeholders to committ to the ‘Timber you can Trust’ campaign by taking the TTF pledge and completing a free timber-procurement CPD course.

Many stakeholders have already pledged their support for the initiative, including architects, contractors, builders’ merchants and many others. View the photo gallery here.

To join the campaign on social media, use the hashtag #trustedtimber.

Find out more here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ttf-launches-timber-you-can-trust-campaign-promote-responsible-timber-sourcing]

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