The EU Timber Regulation, or EUTR, is designed to keep illegally sourced timber out of the marketplace, and is under review by the European Commission in Brussels.
A poll commissioned by WWF showed that 88 per cent of people in the UK did not know products made from illegal timber could still be bought in the EU. 76 per cent said it was important to them that measures be put in place to make sure people couldn't buy products made from illegal wood.
A similarly high number (78 per cent) wanted the EU to implement the law more consistently across EU nations, and 74 per cent thought the laws should cover all wood-based products. Currently, the EUTR does not include items such as chairs, toys, books, musical instruments, charcoal, wine racks, clothes pegs, and many more.
In a statement issued to the European Commission, 63 timber- related companies and seven trade federations say that not only does illegal logging 'pose a significant threat to global forest resources, it also contributes to deforestation, causes loss of biodiversity and erodes the rule of law'. The signatories want sufficient resources made available to enforce the regulation consistently across the EU and a coherent approach towards its interpretation.
WWF has been working to raise awareness of the further measures needed to make the EUTR fully effective, and welcomes the industry support at a time when the legislation could be improved.
Anand Punja, the UK's Timber Trade Federation's Head of Sustainability, said It's very important that this review tackles the inconsistencies and weaknesses of the EUTR. Our members need to be confident that the investment they have made in establishing robust due diligence systems are not being undermined by other businesses across the EU and UK that either aren't required to practice due diligence, or just don't bother because of weak enforcement.
"Such practices only devalue the market for wood products and the forests they come from, and will only lead to further pressure on forests being completely converted for other land uses. We just cannot let this happen."
Anke Schulmeister, senior forest policy officer at WWF's European Policy Office, said "We are pleased to see this business and public support for a stronger regulation, and the drive for the law to include all products that could be made using illegal timber. Currently less than half (by value) of the products entering the EU are covered by the EUTR."
"Deforestation and habitat destruction continues, and illegal timber can end up in our books, toys and chairs. We must act now, during this review of the laws, to ensure we protect our forests."
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For further information, please contact:
Rebecca Pain, Business Media Relations Manager, WWF-UK
email@example.com T: +44 (0)1483 412303 | M: +44 (0)7974 212544
Notes to Editors.
Information on WWF's Work on EU Timber Regulation including recent citizen's poll: wwf.eu/forest
Full poll data also available on request.The industry statement is also available via the link on the right.
WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.