Uneven EUTR enforcement creates loophole for illegal timber

A new study for the European Commission reveals how uneven enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) is letting companies off the hook.

by MFP3

The study summarises the checks  that Competent Authorities in Europe performed in June to November 2017 to verify compliance with the EUTR.

It reveals a huge disparity between how countries monitor operators placing imported timber on the EU market. Some countries importing significant quantities of tropical high-risk timber are carrying out very few checks on companies.

Belgium, Europe’s biggest importer of tropical timber, conducted just two checks in the period. France, the second biggest importer of tropical timber, conducted only 14 checks and did not identify any problems with the systems used by the companies to check the legality of timber they place on the market. 

Germany, by contrast, carried out 103 checks on companies and found nearly two thirds of those did not have appropriate systems to check the legality of the timber. This resulted in 47 notices being issued and five fines.

Such disparity creates a loophole, whereby companies know they will face minimal or no checks in some countries. The only way to close this loophole is by ensuring adequate enforcement across the EU, including the quality and quantity of checks, and adequate follow up action. 

Read the full Global Witness blog post on the new study

Read the full study: UNEP-WCMC, 2018. Overview of Competent Authority EU Timber Regulation checks, June-November 2017. Statistics of checks performed by EU Member States and EEA countries to enforce the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK [PDF]