The wooden packaging and pallet industry says it is fully prepared for the new European ruling enforcing the legal sourcing of timber.
The recently introduced EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) outlaws the placing onto the market of timber considered to be harvested illegally – or any products containing illegally harvested timber. It has been put in place to combat the economic, environmental and social impacts of illegal logging and applies to both sawn timber and a wide range of products manufactured from timber, including pallets and packaging.
According to the EU, illegal logging can have the following impacts:
- Economic: Lost revenues and undermining trading of companies which are operating legally
- Environmental: Deforestation, climate change and loss of biodiversity
- Social: Conflicts over land and resources and the disempowerment of local communities
Based on the principles of due diligence, the regulations specify the legal obligations for two types of companies: “operators”, which are placing timber or derived products on the market for the very first time; or “traders”, which are buying and/or selling timber, or derived products, to other businesses.
An operator must be able to demonstrate and guarantee that the timber it sells is legal; whereas a trader must now ensure it keeps records of all buyers and sellers of the timber or timber products for a minimum of five years.
The European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) has released a set of documents to advise its members, including an overview of the EUTR regulations and key responsibilities and frequently asked questions; and a definition of when a company is classified as an “operator” and when it is a “trader”, with examples.
Gil Covey, President of FEFPEB, said: “Illegal harvesting in European forests is very rare, as the industry already has measures in place to control this and keep our timber traceable.
The vast majority of the timber used by the European pallet and packaging industry is sourced from within the EU and most of our members are classed as traders; these companies will find it relatively easy to comply with the EUTR regulation.
“Meanwhile, we have also given those members who are classified as operators and those sourcing from countries where illegal logging has been more prevalent, the information and tools they need to fulfil their obligations.
“Traceability has long been an area of importance and action for FEFPEB and its members and the extensive work we have carried out on chain of custody, for example, has stood us in good stead for dealing with the new regulations. We have developed a number of specific EUTR resources for FEFPEB members to and have kept them up to date with the roll out of the new regulation.”
More information on the EUTR can be found at FEFPEB’s main website www.fefpeb.eu