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Illegally felled timber and the EUTR legislation

In March 2013 EU regulations came into force intended to prevent the selling of illegally felled timber.

The EUTR (EU Timber Regulations) make the “placing on the market of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber” a criminal offence.

The law covers solid timber, plywood, wood panels and sheets, flooring, veneering, paper and pulp.

The World Bank estimates that governments worldwide lose between US$10-15 billion per year as a result of illegal logging – money that could be spent towards economic development of the countries providing a wide range of benefits to people in timber exporting countries, such as rural livelihoods, environmental services, and sustainable resources.

Buying wood and wood products with a “no questions asked” attitude is no longer lawful.

Those who do so provide financial incentives for those committing forest crimes, and undermine efforts to enforce the law in some of the world’s poorest wood-producing countries.

Organisations that first place timber and timber-based products onto the EU market are required to put in place a due diligence system (DDS) to minimise the risk of introducing illegal timber to the EU.

While it is only traders that first place illegal wood onto the market that will be liable to prosecution, any illegal products discovered may be subject to confiscation at any part of the chain, from merchants through to end users.

This is a serious threat to the reputation of any company found to have illegal timber or timber products, both from a stakeholder’s viewpoint and from that of potential customers.

Norbord welcomes this robust legislation that will ensure wood panels and other timber comes from legal and well-managed forests and we will campaign to help ensure that it is strictly enforced.

As our campaigns develop and become more public, we hope that people will support our initiatives and join us in calling for the Government to take heed of the issues raised.