WWF wrestles with illegal timber in supply chains

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30 November 2012 | Adam Leach

The WWF and the Business Standards Institute (BSI) has published guidance to help companies comply with new regulations and cut illegal timber from the supply chain.

PAS 2021:2012 Exercising due diligence in establishing the legal origin of timber and timber products, published this week and available for free, contains guidance to help businesses and supply chain professionals develop a timber-sourcing policy that complies with the European Timber Regulation (EUTR). Back in March, a survey found 124 UK local authorities had no policy in place to deal with the upcoming regulation, which comes into force in March 2013.

The document provides guidance on what the implications of the new regulations are, how to develop systems of due diligence to govern the supply chain and how to get suppliers verified by a relevant third party. It also provides sample questionnaires to send suppliers.

Shirley Bailey Wood, director of publishing at BSI, said: “The standard encourages organisations to put a microscope on their business processes to ensure they minimise the risk of illegal timber in the supply chain.”

David Nussbaum, chief executive, WWF, said: “A thriving legal timber market that helps to protect the environment as well as the resources it provides is the best way to support those investing in sustainable commodities.”

The document argues that beyond compliance with the new regulations, ensuring responsible timber sourcing provides a range of other benefits. These include satisfying the increasingly stringent sourcing policies of their customers, mitigating against supply failures and brand differentiation.

Under the regulations, EU member states and businesses operating within them will be banned from purchasing timber or timber products that have been illegally produced.

In the survey, the public authorities that had not developed a policy cited reasons such as a lack of time, information and resources.

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