CPET share experience with other EU member states
9 October 2009
In October 2008 the European Commission’s Standing Forestry Committee established an ad hoc working group (WG) on public procurement of wood. The aim of the working group is to form a base for exchange of experience between the Member States, Commission services and stakeholders to develop guidelines for application of the public procurement directives to forest products. This exchange of views should serve to achieve better compatibility between different approaches applied in the Member States, and also support the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The UK forestry commission’s Richard Howe and Defra’s Timber procurement advisor Greg Moffat are part of the working group.
An objective of the working group is to promote the active participation of more EU Member States in the discussion on public procurement (PP) of wood and wood based products. There have been numerous calls for more aligned requirements on timber procurement, in order to effectively mobilise market forces and create a demand for legal and sustainable wood.
The framework which was developed by CPET last year in cooperation with the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium and, which enable comparison of the legality and sustainability criteria was shared with the working group at the first meeting at the end of January. It was presented to give an understanding of the key components of legality and sustainability in timber procurement and proposed as a base for the group to develop a set of reference sustainability criteria. Read more about the comparative study here
The UK wishes to share its experiences and to encourage other countries to implement timber procurement policies without having to ‘re-invent the wheel’. CPET has therefore, in cooperation with Defra, summarised the UK approach to implementing the policy in 6 steps. The document is shared with interested parties via the CPET website here.
During the workgroup’s discussions on evidence of compliance during the first meetings there had been some concern about how to deal with cases of non-certified wood products. To shed light on how these cases can be dealt with, CPET’s Sofie Tind Nielsen was invited to the working group’s third meeting on the18th of September 2009 to share our experiences when verifying legality and sustainability for non-certified products using our Category B evidence approach.
The comparative study also enabled the UK, Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium to identify where legality and sustainability criteria were aligned and their differences. For example the UK’s criteria for sustainability, does not explicitly include social criteria. However, following the decision to undertake a public consultation process over the summer to include social criteria within the UK’s public procurement policy demonstrates our commitment to align policies with other member states. Denmark and the Netherlands already share our legality criteria and in the Danish draft this also extends to the vast majority of their sustainability criteria. Belgium has announced that they are currently consulting on the same legality criteria and that their sustainability criteria are likely to be very similar to that of the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands. CPET is also assisting Defra feed into the EU’s process of setting criteria for ‘sustainable forest management’ (SFM) for the various EU Ecolabels.