The LIFE Legal Wood project, whose main objective is to help companies adapt to the requirements of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR), has just launched a survey in different countries to compile the experience of all the agents involved in the implementation of the EUTR Regulation in those territories.
The survey aims to obtain a true reflection of the current problems and future needs, so that the members of LIFE Legal Wood can contribute to advise on the correct implementation of the EUTR.

Cesefor (ERIAFF member) is part of this European initiative, and together with 11 other partners intends to develop a series of actions to improve and increase the capacity of the main stakeholders in enforcing the EUTR, through training workshops and training videos. They also aim to improve the availability and quality of information on the risks of timber imports, by continuously updating the legislation in each country, improving the existing tools to assess the risks of imports, and expanding risk assessment in at least 10 more countries. All these actions will aim at increasing the knowledge of the main stakeholders, in terms of information availability and dissemination, as well as the positive dissemination of the EUTR.

Together with Spain, NEPCon is participating in the project as project leader and countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. On a national level, Cesefor collaborates with the Basque Country Wood Association (Baskegur), the Forestry Association of Navarre (Foresna) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), establishing a working group to develop all the activities planned in our country.

The survey, aimed at those companies established in partners countries affected by the EUTR, is available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch and Italian.

The work plan proposed by this project is mainly aimed at finding out, at a regional and national level, the number of companies to which the EUTR applies. For this purpose, partners will hold a round of contacts, carry out a study for which it has launched the aforementioned survey, and will organise several dissemination workshops at national level.

Training and raising awareness, keys to stop illegal trade

Despite the introduction of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) and increased monitoring and policing efforts, the EU remain one of the largest markets for the global trade in illegal timber.

Illegal logging account for 15-30 percent globally and a total worth of up to €90 billion with a significant share sold on the European markets, according to a recent investigation by Interpol.

“There is clearly a need to stem the flow of illegal timber into the EU by strengthening the implementation of EUTR and due diligence in member states. The continued import of uncertified wood reflects a deep lack of knowledge, which can potentially lead to penalties. Working with partners across Europe, LIFE Legal Wood will create a stronger awareness of the issues involved and provide seminars and free tools to remove illegal timber from supply chains,” said Jakob Ryding, Technical Project Manager at NEPCon.

LIFE Legal Wood will include a range of actions aimed at strengthening the compliance with EUTR in the European timber and furniture industry, including free workshops for small and medium sized enterprises, risk database and facilitating stakeholder networks to enable more direct collaboration.

“Ultimately the project’s aim is to reduce illegal logging and improve forest management globally. This will only happen if we work closely together with importers as well as local authorities to improve efficiency, awareness and compliance in the European timber industry,” said Jakob Ryding.

Partners of the LIFE Legal Wood project – a continuation of LIFE I (2016-2018) – include NEPCon, Amfori, Baskegur, Cesefor, Conlegno, Etifor, Foresna, GD Holz, Le Commerce du Bois, Probos and the CA’s of Belgium, Germany and Spain.

The project has a budget of 2,445,790 EUR and will run from 2019 to 2022.