The EU Timber Regulation or EUTR is a law that was adopted by the EU and that came into force on 3 March 2013. It is law in all EU member states. The law is available in all official European languages.
Entities that first place timber or timber products on the EU market for commercial purposes are referred to in the EU Timber Regulation as ‘operators’.
The law prohibits such operators from placing timber or timber products on the EU market that were illegally harvested, transported or traded in their country of origin. Effectively, it means that if timber was illegal in its county of harvest, then it is illegal to place it on the EU market too.
In addition to prohibiting the import of illegally harvested timber and timber products, the EUTR also required that Operators have a due diligence system.
- have and implement a due diligence system to minimise the risk that illegally harvested timber is placed on the EU market.
- maintain and regularly evaluate their due diligence system (except if they make use of a due diligence system established by a monitoring organisation).
Operators have to carry out due diligence no matter where they are sourcing from – whether inside or outside the EU. If your company is the first to place the timber on the EU market, you are responsible for conducting the due diligence.
Companies that buy or sell timber that has already been placed on the EU market are referred to as ‘traders’ and are only required to keep records of who they bought from and who they sell to.
What does the due diligence involve?
Carrying out due diligence for the EU Timber Regulation requires:
- Accessing information on the source of the timber. This includes information about the species and geographical origin of the timber.
- Assessing the risk that the timber was harvested, transported or traded in a way that broke any laws in its country of harvest.
- Mitigating any identified risks of placing illegal timber on EU markets to the point that the risks are negligible.
What timber products are included?
A large range of products containing wood is included in the regulation, including pulp and paper. Printed materials such as books are not included. Products that have completed their lifecycle and would otherwise be thrown away are also not included. For more details, see the list on our website of what’s in and out of the scope of the law, or Annex I of the Regulation.
For more information about the EUTR, please visit NEPCon’s website: http://www.nepcon.org/EUTR.
For official information and guidance on the EUTR from the European Commission please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/timber_regulation.htm.