Government procurement of timber in the Netherlands
As announced on the 18th June 2004, all national government institutions in The Netherlands are required to purchase timber from verifiably sustainable sources if possible, with the view to progress to 100% sustainable in 2010. The policy is compulsory for public institutions at national level and applies to both wood and paper products.
The public institutions are advised at a minimum to verify the legality of the product. The Dutch Government is using the UK definition and criteria for legality and thus accepts the CPET approved schemes as evidence of legality, as well as other equivalent evidence, as outlined in UK's Framework for evaluating Category B evidence. The Dutch Government developed the National Assessment Guideline (or BRL) to assess forest certification schemes, through which schemes that met the requirements of BRL could be accepted as evidence of sustainability. A ‘Board of Equivalence Assessment’ was set up to carry out assessment of certification schemes, and preformed a test run on 6 certification systems to see if the BRL system works in practice. The Ministry of VROM (Environment) and the parliament have been informed that none of the tested certification schemes passes the BRL-test. Therefore, an improved set of criteria is being developed on the basis of the experiences gained during the test run. The new criteria will be solely used for the purpose of timber procurement (BRL was originally set up as a forest certification scheme as well as a system for equivalence assessment). Other types of evidence will also be acceptable as proof of sustainability, though no guidance has been issued.
After a consultation with relevant stakeholders, planned for September, the new assessment system for timber procurement is expected to be operational before the end of 2007.
SenterNovem is the organisation that will provide guidance on sustainable procurement for a number of products, including timber. Technical specifications and contract conditions for timber procurement are currently being drawn up, and it is expected that the policy will be opperational before the end of 2007.
Janneke de Jong
Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment
P.O. Box 30945
2500 GX The Hague
Internal P.O. Box 650
Tel: +31 (0)70 339 1916
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information on existing national timber procurement policies, we recommend checking with the national procurement policy contacts for the most up to date information.