Industry News

Europe continues to dominate Supply of Timber and Panel Products to UK Market

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has issued its Monthly Stats Bulletin for April 2017 including a focus on the on the Source of Timber and Panel Products Supply to the UK Market in 2016.

According to TTF data:

- UK imports of the main timber and panel products rose in 2016 by 5.2% to climb to a total of 9.8 million m3.

- Europe accounted for the great majority of the volume of timber imported to the UK, supplying 86% of all imports. Volume from Europe was 8.4 million m3, an increase of just over 6% on 2015.

- Volume supplied specifically from the EU amounted to 7.9 million m3, or 93% of all volume from Europe including Russia.

- The share of supply from Asia fell from 8.7% in 2015 to 8.0% in 2016, mainly due to lower plywood volumes shipped from China.

- The share of supply held by North America fell for the third year in a row, down from 2.3% in 2014 to 1.9% in 2016.

Softwood is by far the main product imported to the UK Timber Market, mostly for Europe. The European supply continued to be dominated by EU countries such as Sweden, with a 43% share of supply, Latvia, Finland, Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

Hardwood is traded in much lower volumes with products mostly coming from Europe (51% of global market share in 2016) and North America (28% of global market share). 

TTF Members can access the complete infographic on the Source of Timber and Panel Products Supply to the UK Market in 2016 here.


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Teak from Myanmar: TTF warns on high risk of illegality in the supply chain

Following Denmark’s recent decision to prohibit Danish companies selling Teak from Myanmar on the EU market, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has warned its member companies of the high risk of illegal logging in the area.

According to the TTF, currently it is extremely difficult to fully document the Myanmar supply chain from forest source to export and, therefore, conducting due diligence.

However, the TTF also notes that on 16 March this year the Myanmar Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) published a statement setting out the next steps in the country’s forestry reform process.  In the statement on behalf of the Union Minister, U Ohn Win, there was an acknowledgement of the complexity of the current system and a commitment to streamlining their systems.  A joint focal group has been convened to prepare a document for international traders that sets out a full description of supply chain documents.  This will be aligned with the restarting of logging following the current 2016-17 Logging Moratorium so that the new harvest will have improved traceability. 

David Hopkins, Managing Director of the TTF said: “If the EUTR is to be successfully implemented, then there must be a level playing field in Europe. This means we should respect the decisions made in Sweden and Denmark. While noting the positive reform changes recently announced in Myanmar we continue to advise our members to exercise caution in any trade from Myanmar, be aware of ongoing reform developments and ensure that all due diligence documents are clearly in place.” 


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Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme now fully accepted in the Netherlands

The Government of The Netherlands has announced the full acceptance of the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) under the Dutch public procurement policy for sustainable timber following a parliamentary debate on 18 January 2017. 

This decision marks an important milestone for the MTCS and is a significant endorsement of Malaysia’s commitment and ongoing efforts in promoting sustainable forestry and timber industry through a timber certification scheme.

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) believes the acceptance of the MTCS under the Dutch public procurement policy for sustainable timber will allow Malaysian wood based companies to enjoy better access to the Dutch markets.

The Dutch market currently accounts for about 30% of the total export of PEFC/MTCS-certified timber products from Malaysia which was valued at RM202 million in 2015. The PEFC/MTCS-certified timber products from Malaysia constitute approximately 50% of the total certified tropical timber imported into the Dutch market. This volume is approximately the same as the volume of PEFC/MTCS-certified timber collectively imported by other EU member states with operational sustainable timber procurement policies, namely United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark.

In her letter to the Dutch Parliament dated 22 December 2016, The Netherlands’ Minister for Environment, Sharon Dijksma affirmed her decision to fully accept the MTCS following the positive outcome of the fact finding mission by the Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) to Malaysia which was held from 23-25 November 2016.

Minister Sharon Dijksma stated: “Forests are of crucial importance in combating climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals…The TPAC report confirms my belief that MTCS has implemented important improvements and has sufficiently mitigated the three bottlenecks…Consequently, I hereby decide to accept the MTCS timber certification scheme under the Dutch central government’s public procurement policy."

The MTCS started its operation in 2001 and has since evolved into a scheme with international stature with endorsement by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). 

“As a PEFC-endorsed scheme, the operation of the MTCS has been significantly strengthened to meet international sustainability benchmarks. With this acceptance, the Netherlands becomes the latest country to fully recognize the MTCS in its public procurement policy along with other countries such as United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Japan,” said Datuk Himmat Singh, Chairman of the MTCC.   

“This acceptance marks a significant milestone for the MTCS and would further encourage the implementation of sustainable management of tropical forests globally and spur growth for the use and consumption of certified tropical timber. Additionally, the acceptance of the MTCS will contribute towards The Netherlands’ ambition of procuring at least 90% of its tropical timber imports from sustainable sources by 2020,” Datuk Himmat Singh explained.


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ATIBT and ETTF launch new Timber Trade Portal

The Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) and the ETTF (European Timber Trade Federation) have agreed to merge their respective websites providing information necessary for the exercise of due diligence in the context of an application of the EUTR (European Union Timber Regulation).

The newly merged platform - - allows users to consult precise and reliable information on the legal trade of timber in each producer country.

The website offers country sheets (23 to date, covering areas in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe) and provides general information and data on each country’s legal framework and governance situation.

It also includes information and data on the timber market, and explanations on the institutional mechanisms in place to combat illegal timber, such as the EUTR, the Lacey Act (US) and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation (AILPR). The maintenance of the website, as well as its updates and the monitoring of the information quality, are possible thanks to ATIBT’s FLEGT projects, which are funded by the European Union and the FFEM.


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One third of tropical timber traded worldwide is illegally sourced, new report finds

A new report presented at the Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) in Cancun last month indicates that one third of tropical timber traded globally comes from illegal deforestation.

As underlined by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), "the significant number stems from an increase of timber traded on domestic markets, which are less regulated and strict than international, export-oriented markets."

The study - coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) - shows that bilateral trade agreements between producer and consumer countries- like the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT)– have prompted shifts in the timber trade from industrial export-oriented markets to small-scale logging operations for the domestic market.

"This pattern can be readily observed in Cameroon, Africa's largest exporter of tropical hardwood to the EU", explain CIFOR researchers. "Due to a lack of government regulation concerning the domestic wood sector, almost half of the country’s timber is sold on the black market."

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, one of the partner organizations supporting the assessment, comments: “Forestry crime including corporate crimes and illegal logging account for up to $152 billion every year, more than all official development aid combined."

Paolo Cerutti, one of the study’s key authors and a scientist at CIFOR, adds: “Illegal logging is complex. Before measures can be taken to curb it, preliminary work is needed to further assess the activity’s causes, complex dynamics, impacts and trade-offs. This was the mission behind our report."

The report - entitled "Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade - Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses" - can be downloaded here.


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