Industry News

UK timber operator fined under EUTR for failing to exercise due diligence

On 2nd March 2018, UK timber operator Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited pleaded guilty to an offence under reg4(b) of the Timber Products (Placing on the Market ) Regulations 2013.

The offence related to deficiencies within the Due Diligence system used by the company on its purchases of West African Timber, in this case FSC Certified Ayous in January 2017.

Subsequent to the enforcement visit it was acknowledged by BEIS that none of the material imported was from an illegal source. The prosecution was solely focused on the company’s due diligence systems. Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited co-operated fully at every stage of the investigation.

As a consequence of the investigations, and as advised by the investigators, Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Limited have adopted the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) RPP Due Diligence Tool kit and along with the TTF’s and the BEIS’s support have now implemented it across all of the products they place on the EU Market.

Simon Marsden Joint Managing Director of Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Ltd said: “This case shows how easy it is to fall foul of the EUTR. As a company, we felt we had adequate procedures in place, particularly in this case as we were purchasing FSC Certified material. However, this is clearly not the case and we admitted that for this one particular supply line our Due Diligence systems were deficient.

We are now utilising the RPP Due Diligence toolkit provided by the TTF and it has already shown to be far more robust and comprehensive than our previous system."

Following the prosecution, David Hopkins, Managing Director of the TTF said: “This case highlights the need for all importers to conduct thorough Due Diligence assessments on all of their products, even those which carry FSC certification. FSC alone is no guarantee of having complied with legal process. It is the sole responsibility of importers to ensure compliance with the EUTR and that all relevant procedures are in place.

It was clear that the timber itself was not illegally harvested, but the company has been punished for not following due process.

The TTF provides all of the tools needed to conduct exemplary due diligence via our Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP). We will continue to work with our members to ensure the highest levels of due diligence, and would recommend all of our members attend our free EUTR and RPP workshops around the country.”

"The TTF's RPP framework was reviewed and overhauled during 2016, to provide a more robust and transparent system to members. This went live in 2017, with all members moving to the new system in phases during that year."

All ‘operators’ (importers) in TTF Membership are independently third-party audited by the Soil Association, a Monitoring Organisation of the EUTR.

Hardwood Dimensions Holdings Ltd has moved to incorporate the TTF’s new RPP toolkit as its Due Diligence system, in line with advice from the Competent Authority. They have subsequently improved their due diligence and completed a third party auditing process.

"The TTF will continue to work with all members to ensure we provide high levels of training in EUTR compliance," David Hopkins concluded.

For more information, contact the Timber Trade Federation at ttf@ttf.co.uk

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-timber-operator-fined-under-eutr-failing-exercise-due-diligence]

BVRio and Ghana Forestry Commission host Responsible Timber Trade Fair in Accra

As part of its mission to promote legal and certified timber from tropical countries, the Brazilian NGO BVRio, in collaboration with the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Ghana Forestry Commission, launched the Responsible Timber Trade Fair (www.bvriotradefairs.org) at the 22nd Ghana International Trade Fair which opened in Accra yesterday.

The event - to close tomorrow 2 March 2018 - features exhibit stands for timber companies to promote their products and a two-day Conference on the Legal and Certified Timber Trade, with an impressive selection of Ghanaian and International speakers.

Conference topics include: the status, challenges and next steps of the FLEGT-VPA process in Ghana, Liberia, Cameroon and Côte d’lvoire; an overview of timber sector in each of these countries; and the requirements of buyers from China and the EU.

The second day of the Conference will host the launch of the Ghana Wood Tracking System (GWTS) Public Portal, developed by Civic Response in conjunction with the Forestry Commission. The purpose of the portal is to enhance due diligence processes and demonstrate the transparency and credibility of the Ghana Legality Assurance Scheme.

The illegal trade of tropical timber is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation, human rights abuses and corruption. To tackle illegality in the sector and support the trade of legal timber, international legislation such as the EU Timber Regulation (EU TR), the US Lacey Act, and the Australia Illegal Logging Prohibition Act have been developed.

Thus, the objective of the fair is to promote and expose timber companies that embrace legality and the FLEGT-VPA process, and certification, to timber traders from the EU and China. BVRio expects that the Responsible Timber Trade Fair will raise awareness about timber legality and help to generate an increase in the international demand for legally and sustainably sourced timber products from West and Central Africa.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bvrio-and-ghana-forestry-commission-host-responsible-timber-trade-fair-accra]

Bidwells release Winter 2017 Timber Price Database

Property Consultants Bidwells have released their Winter 2017 Timber Price Database.

The report collates data returns from 75 sales transactions covering almost 615,000 cubic metres of timber traded predominantly in Scotland as well as Northern England and Wales, during the period April to September (inclusive) 2017.  

With a standing value to growers of over £14,000,000 the results provide a reasonable snapshot of timber prices achieved in the private sector during the reporting period.

When compared to the returns in a previous report (October 2016 to March 2017), there looks to be little significant change in prices paid.

The range of prices being achieved for individual lots of similar average tree size is vast, and this will depend on factors such as species, timber quality, location and ease of working.

In order to arrive at a more rounded and reliable view on the subject, a greater number of samples would be desirable, allowing more in-depth analysis of the figures to be carried out.

Further data shows there is a lot of coniferous timber being felled in the private sector, and this sample reflects only a small proportion of it.

Reports are produced on a sixth monthly basis and new contributors are welcome. All information is treated in the strictest confidence.

To view the full insights and research, please click for the report here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bidwell-releases-winter-2017-timber-price-database]

NEPCon and RACert to form world's largest mission-driven certification body

After two decades of close partnership, the non-profit certification bodies NEPCon and RACert (the certification division of the Rainforest Alliance) have announced their intention to join later this year.

The transaction is subject to agreement on final terms, which the parties expect to finalize later this year.

The combined organisation, which will operate under the name of NEPCon, will continue to offer services that both NEPCon and RA-Cert have been delivering in forestry, agriculture, responsible sourcing, biomass, carbon footprinting, and tourism.

“NEPCon and RA-Cert share similar values, including a commitment to credibility at the heart of our services. We already have closely aligned management structures, systems and working procedures, as well as long-standing trust across the two organisations. RA-Cert complements our existing capacities and geographical areas, and we are excited to have the RA-Cert team join NEPCon," said Peter Feilberg, Executive Director of NEPCon.

The RA-Cert/NEPCon union will have over 200 staff and a wide network of consultants working worldwide, delivering services on six continents.

"The current RA-Cert and NEPCon geographies and services are complementary to each other, and together will drive greater reach and impact,” said Feilberg.

The union will enable NEPCon to better drive impact and reach its mission. The organization will be well-equipped to provide services to large international corporations with global supply chains in agricultural and forest products, as well as engage more with smallholders and community enterprises that are important drivers of impact on the ground.

“RA-Cert has played a key role in driving the Rainforest Alliance's vision of a world where nature is protected and biodiversity flourishes; where farmers, workers, and communities prosper; and where responsible land use and business practices are the norm," said Rainforest Alliance Chief Executive Officer, Han de Groot.

"The acquisition of the RA-Cert program by NEPCon is the right solution to maintain the credibility and independence of the RA-Cert certification and auditing services. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with NEPCon in a variety of areas in the future.”

For more info, click here.

 

[News URL: http://www.cti-timber.org/content/nepcon-and-racert-form-worlds-largest-mission-driven-certification-body]

Progress towards establishment of National Timber Certification Council in Nigeria

On 20 January 2018, with the directional help of Remi Sournia, Projects & Development Officer at PEFC, the Nigerian hardwood trading company BlackCamel Energy Ltd organised the first National Stakeholders information meeting on Sustainable Forest Management in Nigeria through certification at Nandas Hotel, Sagamu, Nigeria.

At the meeting, Joseph Olajide, Chairman of BlackCamel Energy Ltd, informed the stakeholders on the critical situation of Nigeria's forests affected by widespread illegal logging and endangered woods' trading.

The meeting's attendees unanimously agreed that Nigeria needs a National Timber Certification Council that will help in managing and certifying the country's forest. Details of the pledge were laid out in a letter to the Nigerian Minister of Environment, available here.

"The awareness of the need for sustainable forest management is worldwide but agreement on the potential role of timber certification in achieving this goal is by no means equally widespread," the briefing underlines.

"Any viable timber certification scheme will need to be seen to be credible, objective with measurable criteria, reliable and independent and, most important, covering all types of timber." 

"Participation must be voluntary, non-discriminatory in nature and adaptable to local conditions, cost effective, practical and transparent. So far, timber and forest products certification has not been applied on a wide enough basis to prove its practicality in application, its effect on the market or its contribution to good stewardship of the forest. The issue remains highly political in nature and will no doubt continue to be a subject of active international and intergovernmental debate for some time before a solution is found."

Finally, the meeting's attendees also committed to form a Forest Product Association of Nigeria (FPAN) with the aim of checking all activities of forest users and promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) across the country. All FPAN members will actively engage in tree planting to be monitored by the Forestry Institute of Nigeria (FRIN).

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), less than 10% of Nigeria’s land is now covered by forests and only 20,000 hectares of the country’s primary forests remain. There have been high rates of deforestation in the country; the annual rate was 5% between 2010 and 2015. Find out more here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/progress-towards-establishment-national-timber-certification-council-nigeria]

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