Forest reception tackles illegal timber in the EU | WWF
Forest reception tackles illegal timber in the EU

Posted on 20 November 2015

A hundred people gathered in Brussels yesterday to discuss how the EU Timber Regulation could be improved to prevent all trade in illegally-sourced timber across the European Union.

Brussels, Belgium: A hundred people gathered in Brussels yesterday to discuss how the EU Timber Regulation could be improved to prevent all trade in illegally-sourced timber across the European Union. 


The Regulation, which came into force in March 2013, was the first piece of legislation to address trade in illegal timber in the EU, but lack of consistent implementation and enforcement in the EU’s 28 Member States combined with loopholes which mean that major product groups such as printed materials, seating and musical instruments aren’t covered, have  reduced its effectiveness.
 
In 2015 the European Commission has been reviewing the regulation, and therefore it has an opportunity to fix these loopholes and ensure that it effectively achieves its objective to keep all illegal timber out of the EU market.
 
Stakeholders from across the EU attended WWF’s event, including many of the 72 businesses and trade associations that have signed a public statement in support of a stronger EUTR, representatives from the European Commission,  , MEPs, and representatives from the Permanent Representations and Embassies of countries involved with the timber trade, as well as other NGOs.
 
Illegal logging accounts for 15 – 30% of global forest production, with a turnover valued at US$30 – 100 million. It is a major threat to the world’s forests, and to the biodiversity and people they support. It destroys wildlife habitats, increases greenhouse-gas emissions and depletes the natural resources that more than a billion of the world’s poorest people depend on. The EU is one of the world’s largest consumers of wood, importing timber and wood-based products worth €54 billion in 2013.
 
Speaking at the event, Geneviève Pons, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office said,

‘For all of you gathered here, we have a message: for the Commissioner, please ensure effective reform of the EUTR so that we can all be sure that the products we buy are legally produced; for business, to continue to make the case for removing illegal timber from the EU market and to support a responsible timber trade; and for all of us to show that our buying power supports only timber that is produced legally and sustainably.’
 
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said,

‘We are here today because we share a common concern. We all want action, not words, on illegal logging.’
 
Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability and Communications Director, Kingfisher said,

‘I think I speak for all businesses here, none of us see a conflict between sustainable business growth and job creation, and a consistently and strongly applied EU timber regulation.’
 
The reception was hosted by WWF in association with Kingfisher and IKEA.
  
#EUTR
Source of the article
EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella; and Geneviève Pons-Deladrière, Director of WWF European Policy Office. Brussels, 19 November 2015.
© WWF
Industry, politicians and civil society come together to cut out trade in illegal timber in the EU
© WWF / Lode Saidane