ETTF welcomes due-diligence exempt licensing

The ETTF has enthusiastically greeted the news that FLEGT-licensed timber and wood products are set to become available from Indonesia. Secretary General André de Boer sees FLEGT licensing delivering commercial and logistical benefits to the timber sector, as well as a tool for tackling illegal wood. And he urges the wider trade to get behind it.

André de Boer

“It has taken time to get here, resulting in a dip in FLEGT licensing awareness in the marketplace,” he said “But it has been a huge undertaking by Indonesia and the EU and hopefully will now give the wider FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement initiative, and other suppliers involved, renewed impetus.”

The key EU trade benefit of FLEGT-licensed timber, he added, is in automatically meeting the legality assurance requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), exempting operator importers further due diligence. “That should save time and costs, simplify logistics and reduce corporate risk,” said Mr de Boer.

FLEGT licensing streamlines suppliers' legality assurance too, as they face just one set of criteria rather than different due diligence documentation from customers EU-wide. “It should also increase their market access in the EU and potentially other countries with timber market legality requirements,” said Mr de Boer. “It’s evidence they’ve improved forest governance and the rule of law in the timber sector and, as with the EU trade, underlines their commitment to eradicate illegal logging and trade.”

But Mr de Boer also stressed that Indonesia’s success was just the "start of the FLEGT licensing journey” and the onus was now on the EU trade to communicate its benefits to the market, adding that ETTF's member federations are already doing this increasingly vigorously. “We must also maintain pressure for strict, uniform enforcement of the EUTR EU-wide. Any weakness here is a disincentive to supply and buy FLEGT-licensed timber,” he said. “We need a virtuous trading circle with rigorous EUTR enforcement driving demand for FLEGT-licensed timber." 

For more visit the new FLEGT licence information point: www.flegtlicence.org