Overview of legality verification systems
VLO, VLC, TLTV, OLB, LHV...there are several legality verification systems operating; these systems are not approved forest certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC), but may be used to ensure legality and traceability of wood and timber products.
A new section on the CPET website provides an overview of legality verification. The section compares the UK Government public procurement policy and the EU Illegal Timber Regulation and the FLEGT VPA definitions of legality, lists available voluntary legality verification systems and explores to what extend these systems deliver compliance.
The section is based on a recently published Proforest briefing note and clarifies for example that VLO verifies the legal right to harvest, but not that all applicable and relevant laws and regulations are complied with; that stepwise technical support programmes, such as GFTN, TTAP and Smartstep, are initiatives aimed at helping companies and are not designed to be used as legality verification per se. The section makes it clear that where mixing from a ‘suppliers assessment programme’ is allowed through the supply chain, as is the case with OLB, further investigation to verify legal compliance is required and also makes it clear that FSC Controlled wood is not ‘FSC certification’ on its own, but a ‘tradetool’ to ensure that the non-certified portion in mixed products do not come from ‘unwanted sources’. Therefore, FSC Controlled Wood should not be accepted as ensuring compliance with the UK government’s timber procurement policy.
Voluntary legality verification systems can play an important role in ensuring legality and ensuring compliance with the UK government’s timber procurement policy where no sustainable source is available. The systems can help prove legality in the context of the EU Timber Regulation and can, if endorsed by the countries government’s help verify legality in the context of the FLEGT VPA process.
Find the new legality section under ‘Other Evidence’ and download the briefing note here.