Wood buying tips for businesses
Businesses: make sure your wood and paper supplies are sound
From March 2013, a new EU law will mean that anyone placing forest goods on the UK market will need to show where it’s come from and that it’s legal.
How much information you need to collect and maintain will vary according to your place in the supply chain. This regulation is currently in its development phase, but will come into full effect on 3 March 2013. You can find more information as it becomes available from the European Commission or the UK's Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement (CPET).
We know it can seem daunting to trace every forest product you buy or sell. But take it one step at a time and follow our advice below.
Timber legality can be viewed as a product quality issue. When you ask your suppliers to provide legal timber, you are requesting timber with a new quality: legality. If timber lacks proof of legality, it lacks the quality that you require.
Two basic questions should always be at the back of your mind:
“Is the source legal?”
Where was the forest of origin? Was the quality of the forest management such that all timber coming from this forest had the right ‘legal’ quality?
“How did it get here?”
Was the quality and traceability of the supply chain such that no illegal timber was introduced and the legal quality was not subsequently diluted?
The simplest way to answer these two questions is to buy timber that has been independently certified as coming from well managed forests, such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
But most forests, particularly tropical forests, are not certified, and the bulk of timber products traded internationally remain uncertified. So other approaches are needed to reduce risk of trading in illegal timber from non-certified forests – for instance asking for evidence of legality from your suppliers.
Explore our interactive guide to legal and responsible sourcing – a vital and indispensable tool for anyone who buys forest products.