Government procurement of timber in France
The French Government's timber procurement policy was adopted as part of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, issued in June 2003. Initially relevant to tropical timber only, it was expanded in 2005 to cover all timber, regardless of origin. The timber procurement policy is compulsory for national departments and agencies. Local governments are encouraged to refer to it. The policy covers both wood and paper products.
Although there is a clear obligation on National Government, (“public buyers must ensure that at the time of launching any new public work…the timber used to carry out the contract must originate from sources that guarantee sustainable forest management.”), a gradual implementation approach is being pursued, with clear overall targets. The objective was to reach a minimum of 50% of wood and derived products public procurement from legal and sustainable sources in 2007 and 100% in 2010.
A review conducted by a consultancy firm has begun in April 2009. The first part of this review is a quantitative evaluation of a sample of wood transactions contracted in 2007, in order to assess the fulfilment of the objective of 50% of wood and derived products public procurement from legal and sustainable sources. A qualitative assessment with interviews of buyers, suppliers, forest actors and NGOs is also on-going, which will lead to recommendations for the improvement of the current policy.
The objective to buy only wood and derived products from legal and sustainable sources in 2010 was reiterated in a circular in 2008 relating to the exemplary nature of the French Government regarding sustainable development.
The French government relies on verification of legality and sustainability by an independent third party. This approach has been defined as including both certification schemes and a range of other types of evidence, including evidence such as a legality license (anticipating the future FLEGT licenses), an independent verification of a supplier’s declaration, attestation of a forest management plan, or verification of compliance with a code of practice, and existing custom documents to qualify legal/ sustainable products when entering the EU market. No assessment of evidence is undertaken by the Government.
The policy is outlined in detail in Government circular, available for download from the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development webpage:
Circulaire du 5 avril 2005 (in French)
Circulaire du 8 décembre 2008 (in French) :
This policy is currently being updated, so please contact the policy lead for more information.
Bureau du Développement Economique
Sous-Direction de la Forêt et du Bois
Ministère de l'Agriculture et de la Pêche
19, avenue du Maine
75 732 Paris Cedex 15
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.