It has been long since the illegal logging issue emerged as one of the serious problems in the world. As you know, illegal logging induces deterioration and destruction of the forest resources in wood producing and exporting nations. In the wood importing and consuming nations as well, illegal logging intimidates forest management and wood industry by distribution of unfairly low-priced, illegally harvested wood products in the market. Under these circumstances, the United States and European Union have recently adopted new measures to address this problem. In the US, the Lacey Act was amended in December 2008, by which international/domestic trade, transport, sale, receipt, acquisition and purchase of plants and their products that are not conforming to the legal requirements of US and the exporting country has become illegal and the violators are to be given penalties such as products confiscation, fines, imprisonment, and so forth.
In Europe, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) was adopted in 2010 and became operational in March 2013. This regulation made it a prohibition to bring illegal wood/wood products on the internal EU market. Operators in the EU 1), who bring wood/wood products onto to EU market must exercise “Due Diligence”, i.e. they have to be able to document that the wood was legally harvested. The due diligence obligation is for domestically (inside the EU) harvested timber and for timber imported into the EU. The EUTR ia applicable to almost all wood products including pulp and paper. As soon as the timber is on the EU market, it needs to be traceable back to the operator who put the timber on the EU market (e.g., keeping records of products suppliers and clients). “Due Diligence” in this scheme means business entities themselves search risk of illegal wood/wood products being exported to EU market and take measures to reduce the risk when necessary in an effort of keeping the risk at the possible lowest level. The only exemptions from the due diligence obligation is FLEGT licensed wood from VPA participating countries, and wood certified under the Washington Convention (CITES): Cites certified and FLEGT licensed timber is regarded as legal.
This survey was done to clarify the general views in the industry on the new measures taken in EU and in the US, the effectiveness of these measures, and the awareness of the Japanese green purchase scheme (industry association’s voluntary certification) in the EU and by the US wood industries.