Industry News

'Russian Market of timber & sawn wood 2016' conference - Highlights

On 3 March 2016 the 1st International conference 'Russian Market of Timber and Sawn Wood 2016' took place in Moscow.

Russian Market of Timber and Sawn Wood 2016The event gathered regulators and representatives of large, medium, and small businesses: producers, suppliers, traders, wood conversion and processing companies. Experts from Russia, Belarus, Finland, Austria, and China discussed new timber and sawn wood trading instruments, domestic market trends and timber export issues, exchange trade prospects, new environmental standards, internal processing market aspects, regulatory changes and many other questions.

Much attention was focused on how the provisions of forestry legislation have been applied since the effective date of Federal Law No. 415 of 28.12.2013 amending Forest Code. Business community thinks that main problem here is about record keeping and tracking the wood from harvesting to transportation, and it is caused by the lack of data storage rules and procedures.

Conference participants also highlighted the big problems with filling out accompanying documents, since their status is not formalized in wood-related transaction declarations.

One of the most debated topic was the application of various timber and sawn wood production trading instruments in the domestic market. Saint Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX) shared their plans regarding future exchange operations. In particular, those include the increase of sawn wood sales, implementation of railway station base concept, with the organization of cargo transportation to the destination point, creation of local hubs based on traditional wood transshipment railway stations, and the expansion of trading geography.

Reviewing their experience regarding the organization of timber sales in Belarus, the representative of the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange suggested that there should be created a working group, to deal with pricing issues and standards of timber trading in Russia and Belarus.

According to the conference speakers, Russian deep wood-processing market has begun developing, which might contribute to the economic growth of the country. Plywood is becoming one of the most profitable sectors of the industry, and its export volumes to EU are growing.

The panel also discussed FCS and SBP certification process Russian companies have to go through, development of forestry-related environmental standards, and the prospects of intensive forest cultivation.

[Photo courtesy of MAXConference]


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European Commission report: "More efforts needed for EUTR implementation"

Yesterday the European Commission released a report on the effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) during its first two years of implementation.

The report finds that the EU is on track to achieve its objectives to combat illegal logging and associated trade in illegal timber, but challenges remain.

Some positive trends are visible, namely that EU operators are gradually taking steps to ensure the legality of their suppliers and that there is more awareness of the problem of illegal logging amongst EU consumers.  

The Regulation has also encouraged producer countries to develop systems assessing compliance with the requirements of the legislation. However, more effort is needed from both the Member States and the private sector to ensure its effective and efficient application. Since 2014 there has been significant progress in the implementation of timber regulation across the EU.

While in July 2014 there were 18 non-compliant Member States, in June 2015 the number was reduced to 4 (Greece, Hungary, Romania and Spain). The Commission launched infringement procedures against these Member States in 2015. It was also widely recognised that the Regulation adds significant value to the international efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation, conserve biodiversity and address climate change.

The results of evaluation will be used to further improve the implementation and application of the Timber Regulation.

"Although the evaluation of the Regulation comes after only two years of application, evidence shows that the Regulation has encouraged more responsible sourcing policies where they already exist and for engaging in new ones. In addition, it has demonstrated its potential to change operators' market behaviour", the report says. "Moreover, the Regulation has created an incentive for suppliers in third countries to demonstrate the legality of their timber products and has the power to establish supply chains free of illegally harvested timber, thus contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the FLEGT Action Plan."

The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) was adopted in March 2013 aiming to tackle the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market. It sets out requirements that companies within the European Union (EU) must meet to minimize the risk of illegal timber being traded. The EUTR requires companies placing timber products on the European market (both imported and domestic) to implement a Due Diligence System (DDS), keeping records of their suppliers and customers to allow for traceability.

Find out more here.

ETTF launches new website on international timber trade

The European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF) has launched its new website ‘Gateway to international Timber Trade’ (www.timbertradeportal. com).

International timber traders can now find information on forestry, legal timber trade, country requirements and export from timber producing countries. The overall objective is to enhance and facilitate legal trade in tropical timber.

The construction of the website has been supported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC). Information on industry and legality has been gathered from several available sources, such as the FAO and ITTO databases, and data from ITC / Tradecom. Form international, a Dutch consultancy firm specialised in forest and plantation management and certification, is in charge for the coordination and compilation of country profiles. 

Visitors of the website are invited to add information or share their experience, using the review button on the country profiles. Also, Form international can be contacted directly at [email protected].

MD David Hopkins discloses new TTF strategy

In his new year message to the members, the newly appointed Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) David Hopkins has announced an internal rearrangement of the organisation.

"This new strategy is about refocusing on our core offering: that of providing a vibrant, vital ‘trading desk’ to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly and efficiently at all times", said Mr Hopkins.

In details, the TTF will operate a restructuring of the existing product divisions of softwood, hardwood and panel products "to also accommodate committees on cross cutting themes such as Quality & Sustainability, Education & Training, Health & Safety, and Communication & Engagement." At the same time, the Federation will promote "plans for closer working ties with the regional groups of the TTF, to encourage greater participation, involvement and engagement with members across the country."

The new strategy will also imply "providing a functioning due diligence system for members while also allowing market access and visibility for demonstrably low-risk product such as that from Grown in Britain, sustainable tropical timber initiatives and other producer schemes we should be supporting" as well as "continuing to take the leading role and leading voice on all EUTR issues at UK & EU level."

"There is a lot on the horizon for 2016 and a lot of positive change planned. I’m looking forward to the challenge.", concluded Mr Hopkins.

To read the full message click here.

90% of timber entering the UK is certified, TTF Due Diligence Report shows

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has recently published its Annual Responsible Sourcing Report.

The report analysed data from 159 companies, covering around 76% of the total volume of timber and logs consumed in the UK in 2014. The top line findings are that little has changed in terms of the exposure to risk the UK faces when it comes to illegal logging, with around 90% of all products certified to FSC/ PEFC.

The level of certified purchases however has regressed slightly as some companies seem to now be using their due diligence systems to mitigate risk ahead of buying certified product.

A positive note is that the proportion of certified timber remained similar to previous years even though the volume of timber reported for 2014 was substantially higher. 

"The work that the TTF and its members have done in this area - renamed in 2014 as the Responsible Purchasing Process - has delivered measurable benefits to Members’ businesses and, by definition, to the timber supply chain", said outgoing TTF Chief Executive David Lennan. "Importantly, it has provided a framework for companies to provide the evidence and data to show that they are increasingly buying from sources that are more formally and at a minimum, legally managed."

Read the Due Diligence Report here.