The European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF) has recently released comprehensive guidance on the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) for timber exporters supplying timber and related products to the EU market. This regulation, which will come into effect on June 29, 2023, aims to replace the current EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) by December 30, 2024. Importantly, the EUDR introduces a crucial requirement for all timber importers within the EU: the implementation of a due diligence system before importing.
Under the EUDR, importers will be responsible for gathering information and conducting risk assessments to ensure that the timber and timber-based products they import do not contribute to deforestation or illegal logging. This due diligence system will require importers to exercise caution when sourcing timber, verifying its legality and sustainability.
The guidance provided by the ETTF aims to assist timber exporters in understanding and complying with the new regulations. It emphasizes the importance of transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain, urging exporters to establish clear documentation and records of their timber sources. This will enable importers to demonstrate that their timber products are legally and sustainably sourced.
Furthermore, the guidance highlights the need for exporters to familiarize themselves with the risk assessment process outlined in the EUDR. This process involves identifying and evaluating potential risks associated with the timber supply chain, such as illegal logging or deforestation. By conducting thorough risk assessments, exporters can identify high-risk areas and take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.
The ETTF also stresses the significance of collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders in the timber trade sector. It encourages exporters to engage with local communities, governments, and NGOs to promote responsible and sustainable forestry practices. By working together, stakeholders can contribute to the preservation of forests and biodiversity, while also ensuring the long-term viability of the timber trade.
In addition to the guidance provided by the ETTF, the European Commission is also developing a centralized database to facilitate the exchange of information between importers and competent authorities. This database will serve as a valuable tool for importers to access relevant information on timber legality and sustainability.
The release of this guidance comes at a critical time, as the global community faces increasing concerns over deforestation and its impact on climate change. The EUDR represents a significant step forward in the EU’s efforts to combat deforestation and promote sustainable forestry practices. By holding importers accountable for the timber they bring into the EU, the regulation aims to reduce the demand for illegally sourced timber and encourage responsible sourcing.
In conclusion, the guidance provided by the ETTF offers valuable insights and support to timber exporters navigating the new requirements of the EUDR. By adhering to the due diligence system and implementing responsible sourcing practices, exporters can contribute to the preservation of forests and the promotion of sustainable timber trade. With the implementation of the EUDR, the EU is taking a proactive stance in addressing deforestation and promoting environmental sustainability in the timber industry.