The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which will come into force in March 2013, sets stringent requirements to ensure all timber imported into, and produced within, the EU is of legal origin. The European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF) commissioned an assessment of available certification and legality verification schemes’ level of compliance with the EUTR legality requirements. The assessment, carried out by Proforest, which has extensive experience advising on the EUTR, concludes that currently none of the 10 schemes assessed fully delivers the assurance of legality as defined by the EUTR.
The 10 schemes assessed in the report were the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), Bureau Veritas Origin and Legality of Wood (OLB), Certisource Legality Assurance System (CLAS), GFS Wood Tracking Programme (WTP), Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood Verification of Legal Origin (VLO) and SmartWood Verification of Legal Compliance (VLC), Soil Association Forest Verification of Legal Compliance (FVLC), SCS LegalHarvest Verification (LHV) and NEPCon LegalSourceTM Standard (LS).
The report found that 4 of the 10 schemes (VLC, FVLC, LHV and LS) were compliant with all the criteria, except one where partial compliance was found. The report therefore concluded that these schemes are likely to provide acceptable assurance and credibility under the EUTR criteria. The other schemes were found to be non-compliant with one or more of the criteria and should therefore not be accepted as ensuring full compliance with the EUTR’s legality criteria, without further information. The schemes with non-compliances have, however, initiated the process of amending their standards in order to address all criteria and ensure compliance with the EUTR. The report therefore recommends that the current assessment is reviewed before March 2013.