Industry News

New survey launched to tailor EUTR due diligence training

The environmental NGO NEPCon has launched a new survey - accessible here - to help shape training for small and medium-sized enterprises on how to meet the due diligence requirements under the EU Timber Regulation.  

NEPCon is developing the training under an EU-funded small- and medium-sized enterprises training Project. The goal of this initiative is to ensure consistent implementation of the EU Timber Regulation among the European Union’s thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The project package contains over 40 national risk assessments devolved by forest legality experts that provide detailed risk information about timber-exporting countries. In addition, user-friendly tools on using the risk data, understanding the EUTR requirements and setting up a proper due diligence system are on the way. Forest legality experts will share all this with you in training courses where you can get expert support in setting up your own due diligence system.

Currently 12 EU states - Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Hungary and Spain - have agreed to host the training sessions.

For more information, contact Dorte R. Ballermann at [email protected].


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New Forest Trends report: 'More efforts needed to cut deforestation out of commodity supply chains'

Forest Trends has released a new report - downloadable here - aimed to track progress on 579 public commitments from companies around the world who have pledged to remove forest destruction from their supply chains.

These businesses depend on the “big four” agricultural commodities – palm oil, wood products, soy, and cattle – responsible for more than a third of tropical deforestation each year.

The report 'Supply Change: Tracking Corporate Commitments to Deforestation-free Supply Chains, 2016' looks at 566 companies representing at least US$7.3 trillion in market capitalization who were identified as having deforestation risk tied to these four commodities within their supply chains. Of these companies, 366 have made coinciding commitments to shift to sustainable sources.

Key findings include:

• Companies are most likely to make commitments toward palm, and timber & pulp. Of companies active in palm, 61% have adopted pledges, compared with only 15% and 19% of those companies active in cattle and soy, respectively. The disparity is alarming because it is estimated that cattle production causes 10 times more deforestation than palm.

• Large public companies are more likely to make commitments than small private ones, possibly as a result of pressure and higher standards for disclosure from financial institutions. Many of these large companies are consumer-facing entities headquartered in North America and Europe, far away from the environmental damage caused by commodity agriculture.

• Companies that operate “upstream” (producers, processors, and traders) are more likely to make commitments than their “downstream” counterparts (manufacturers and retailers) – and their pledges are potentially more impactful. Upstream actors represent just 26% of tracked companies, but 80% have made a commitment, compared with 62% of downstream companies.

• Current disclosure is insufficient as companies have only reported quantifiable progress toward one in three commitments. Even among pledges whose target dates have already passed, companies have disclosed progress on fewer than half.

"We applaud the hundreds of companies that have publicly made a commitment to reducing deforestation in their supply chains. However, this is only the starting point", commented Forest Trends Association President Michael Jenkins.

"We encourage all companies to update their stakeholders on their progress along the way and the hundreds of other companies that have not yet made a commitment to doing so. We hope that this report helps to inform stakeholder decisions and advance the transition to deforestation-free supply chains", Mr Jenkins concluded.


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BMF shortlisted for Trade Association Best Practice Awards

For the second year running, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has been shortlisted for three prestigious Trade Association Best Practice Awards in the Trade Association Forum’s (TAF’s) annual contest to take place on 6 July 2016 in London.

The BMF is shortlisted for Magazine of the Year for its quarterly member magazine, One Voice, for Event of the Year for BMF Members’ Day 2015, and for Website of the Year for its dedicated youth recruitment site,

Linda Cavender, Chief Executive of Trade Association Forum, commented: “Year on year, the standard of entries for the Awards gets higher and higher and this means that our Sifting Panels had an exceptionally difficult job in deciding which entries should go on the shortlist.  However, after lengthy debate, we have a strong list of finalists, all of which have entered some fantastic projects which we will be showcasing in due course at our TA Best Practice Exchange in November later this year.” 

BMF MD, John Newcomb added: “The BMF team works exceptionally hard to support our members and I am delighted that their work has again been recognised. Last year the BMF went on to win two TAF awards and it would be fantastic to have similar success this year, but reaching the shortlist against such stiff competition is worth celebrating in its own right.”


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PEFC grows its membership in Africa with addition of Ghana

Ghana has joined PEFC becoming its third member in Africa alongside Cameroon and Gabon.

"Joining the PEFC Alliance is a vital step towards gaining international recognition for our Ghanaian National Forest Certification System," said Emmanuel Amoah Boakye from the Working Group on Forest Certification."Once our system has achieved PEFC endorsement, our country’s forest owners, forestry companies and the whole forestry sector will be able to demonstrate their sustainable forest management practices, here and abroad."

"While there was already a Ghanaian national standard for the sustainable management of natural forests and plantations, the PEFC Collaboration Fund supported us as we developed the other aspects of a certification system, such as the Group Certification requirements and a Chain of Custody Standard," Mr. Boakye added.

"It is fantastic to welcome Ghana as the latest member of the PEFC Alliance," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, following the announcement. "Through our Collaboration Fund, we have been providing financial and technical support for the development of the Ghanaian national forest certification system, so it is wonderful to see the country take an important step towards PEFC endorsement by becoming a PEFC member."

Ghana follows Hungary as the latest country whose membership can be traced back to seed funding provided through a PEFC Collaboration Fund project.


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CPI Director of Raw Materials: '2015 annus horribilis for UK paper industry'

In a recent article published on Resource Magazine, Simon Weston, Director of Raw Materials at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), provided an interesting insight on the problematic situation of UK paper industry.

"Last year was an annus horribilis for paper manufacturing in the UK", highlighted Mr Weston. "Whilst the industry has invested heavily in new machinery over the past decade, improving energy efficiency and reducing its environmental footprint, 13 paper machines were closed in 2015 with the loss of close to 900 kilotonnes (Kt) of capacity."

Many factors affected the industry performance, including changes in demanded products, new social trends and market fluctuations. "Since 2000, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in demand for newsprint and a 30 per cent decrease in demand for printing and writing papers, reflecting the increasing popularity of digital media. On the other hand, demand for hygiene products such as tissues has risen by nearly 15 per cent."

Mr Weston focused his analysis on recovered paper, underlining how "domestic mill consumption fell to 3.36 million tonnes, down nearly 400Kt, and the excess was absorbed by export markets, which grew to 4.9 million tonnes [...] The UK is now very dependent upon export markets and is therefore vulnerable to issues such as fluctuating demand in the world economy and quality. For the first time last year, Chinese mills became bigger users of British recovered paper than the UK itself."

Another issue derived from recovered paper quality: "Despite 65 per cent of post-domestic collection now being co-mingled, the MRF Code of Practice appears moribund with neither the level of participation nor the average contamination in output material reflecting a high-quality performance."

To read the complete article click here.


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