In March next year, the European Timber Trade Federation will introduce the new EU Timber Regulation, a due diligence illegal timber risk assessment system aimed at preventing illegal wood from entering the EU supply chain.
The new rules will impact everyone trading in timber and timber products in the EU, including the paper, packaging, furniture and wood fuel sectors.
The timber industry now has less than eight months to prepare for the EUTR which comes into effect on 3 March 2013. The regulation aims to tackle the illegal timber trade that will help level the playing field for the European industry whilst positively impacting timber producing countries.
However, according to the Association for British Furniture Manufactures (BFM), there is concern that many businesses may not be doing what is necessary to prepare in time, due to lack of awareness or resources.
Under the EUTR, there will be an important distinction between the responsibilities and obligations of an ‘operator’ and a ‘trader’. The BFM says that those classified as ‘operators’ (i.e. those who first place the timber or timber products on the EU market) have to follow the ‘due diligence’ requirements. Whereas, ‘traders’ must identify the operators or the traders who have supplied the products and keep records for at least five years – their primary responsibility is one of traceability back to the operator.
The BFM has produced a two-page guidance note for member companies to explain how it can affect furniture manufacturers or indeed anyone in the supply chain including retailers.