What is the EUTR?
Since March 2013, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) has
imposed restrictions on the import of timber into the 28 member states of the
It applies to specific timber and timber products placed on
the EU market whether logged in the EU or internationally, and applies even
when timber products arrive in the EU via a processing country.
The key elements of the EUTR only apply to the companies
which first place relevant products on the EU market (which for wood from
outside the EU means importers), not companies further down the supply chain.
There are two separate components:
Companies are prohibited from placing illegal timber or timber products on the
Companies are also required to actively assess the risk that timber has been
logged or traded illegally, before placing it on the market. In order to do so
they are required to develop or use a due diligence system, that involves gathering
information on timber they want to import, evaluating the probability that it
is legal, and taking steps to mitigate the risk of importing illegal timber. A
failure to carry out proper due diligence is an offence, even if the wood
itself is not shown to be illegal.
Penalties for infringement of the EUTR vary between
different EU countries but can include criminal prosecution, fines, and the
seizure of timber.
How Can It Help You?
Implementation and enforcement of the EUTR has been slow,
and as a result illegal wood continues to enter the EU. A huge opportunity
exists to improve implementation and help shut down one of the largest global
markets for stolen timber. Authorities in the EU are showing a growing
willingness to act. In early 2016, for example, action was taken against
companies in Sweden and Holland that were attempting to sell high-risk timber
from Myanmar and Cameroon.
As the ability of enforcement authorities to react
decisively improves, increasing the flow of evidence from timber-exporting
countries can have greater impact. The due diligence component of the EUTR
means that strong evidence of illegal logging in a particular country can deter
traders from sourcing timber from it. Ultimately, this should encourage
improvements in enforcement and forest governance in source countries, and help
mitigate the devastating effects of illegal logging.