Update on the EU Timber Regulation
Does certification ensure compliance with the EUTR?
The EU Timber Regulation text states that ‘certification or other third party verified schemes… may be used in risk assessment procedure’ (paragraph 19), but certification does not currently automatically guarantee that compliance with the EUTR is ensured.
The two major certification schemes FSC and PEFC have however, over the past months both announced that they will take steps to help ensure that using their certification as a part of your due diligence system gives assurance of compliance with the EUTR.
PEFC’s Board of Directors have decided to revise the PEFC International Chain of Custody Standard to ensure that all their certified companies meet the EUTR requirements, read more here.
FSC likewise are seeking to ensure compliance with the EUTR through a number of measures, more information is available here.
Update from the UK Government on Brussels discussions
The UK government hosted a stakeholder meeting in December in preparation for the Member States’ FLEGT Committee meeting on 20th December in Brussels. Defra would like to thank those who provided feedback, as it meant that the UK was able to confidently reflect stakeholder’s views in Brussels.
The discussions in Brussels focussed on the drafting of the implementing regulation which will provide more detailed rules necessary to ensure a uniform implementation of the EU Timber Regulation across the 27 member states and which shall be adopted by 3 June 2012.
The discussions in December were mainly around the wording/ content of the implementing regulations. The key areas of the discussion included
1) The definition of ‘operator’s supply’. An ‘operator’s supply is referred to in Article 6 1(a) of the EUTR as what due diligence should be applied to, and is likely to be defined in the implementing regulation in order to clarify that due diligence does not need to be applied to every consignment. The definition will explain that an ‘operator’s supply, can be considered as one or more consignments of a specific type of timber or timber product, harvested in a given country or region, received by an operator from an individual supplier and supplied within a period of 12 months.
2) When is it applicable to provide the scientific species name?
There was general consensus that the scientific species name should be given when there is ambiguity around the use of the common name. Some common names cover a number of species which may vary greatly in terms of availability of legal sources.
3) When is it applicable to provide details of ‘concession of harvest’?
There was more disagreement around when ‘concession of harvest’ should be given. The UK argued that Concession should be defined as ‘any tenure of harvest’ in order not to discriminate against those countries which use concession arrangements. A compromise was reached whereby ‘where applicable’ for ‘concession of harvest’ is likely to be linked to the level of risk associated with a particular concession.
4) The addition of risk assessment criteria/ defining negligible risk.
While there is still a great deal of consensus between the Member States around the need for more clarity on risk assessment criteria, the Commission clarified the possibility for elaboration is limited within the official legislation as obligations not mentioned in parent regulation text cannot be added in further legal guidance. To support a uniform implementation of the regulation the Commission will investigate the possibilities for including some clarification, but it seems likely risk assessment criteria, and any attempt to define negligible risk, will be contained in guidance rather than the regulation.
5) Commission guidance
There was also a discussion of what should be contained in the guidance.
The topics the UK suggest need covering and clarification in further guidance are:
· Clarity on ‘Placing on the market’ definition
· Clarity on waste products and products that contain a mix of virgin and recycled fibres.
· The interaction between the prohibition and obligation
· What is meant by regular evaluation of a due diligence system
· What is the liability of an MO
The UK Government will be grateful for comments and contributions on these issues to feed back to the Commission by 25th January.
CPET will ensure that all the latest clarification and guidance on the regulation is reflected on the CPET website and in our advice.
All enquires or comments related to the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and latest guidance are welcome via the CPET helpline email@example.com/ 01865 243766.
The next FLEGT Committee meeting in Brussels related to the EUTR will be on Monday 27th February and in preparation the UK Government will host another Stakeholder update meeting on Wednesday 22nd February 10:00 – 13:00 at Nobel House, London.
Please contact CPET for further details.