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Environment

Timber Regulation

The EU Timber Regulation will be repealed by the Regulation on deforestation-free products. The new rules build on the existing due diligence framework.

Overview

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) entered into force on 3 March 2013 and will be repealed by the Regulation on deforestation-free products.

The Timber Regulation outlined the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market to counter the trade of illegally harvested timber and timber products. It applied to both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products. It covered a broad range of timber products, including solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper. Not included are recycled products, as well as printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers.

The evaluation (‘Fitness check’) of the EU Timber Regulation showed that it improved the situation in third countries. EU trade partners took steps to strengthen their forest governance systems and reduce illegal logging to meet the requirements of the Regulation. The due diligence approach allowed flexibility to respond to new and emerging challenges linked to illegal logging and illegal land use change. Therefore, the new Regulation on deforestation-free products integrates and improves upon the framework set up with the Timber Regulation.

Objectives

The main objectives of the EU Timber Regulation were to

  • prohibit the placement of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber on the EU market
  • require EU traders who place timber products on the EU market to exercise due diligence to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber
  • require EU traders to keep records of their suppliers and customers

Due diligence

The core of the 'due diligence' notion is that operators undertake a risk management exercise to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber, on the EU market.

The three key elements of the "due diligence system" are:

  • Access to information: The operator must have access to information describing the timber and timber products, country of harvest, species, quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation.
  • Risk assessment: The operator should assess the risk of having illegal timber in his supply chain, based on the information identified above and taking into account criteria set out in the regulation.
  • Risk mitigation: When the assessment shows that there is a risk of illegal timber entering the supply chain, that risk can be mitigated by requiring additional information and verification from the supplier.

Evaluation

An evaluation (‘Fitness Check’) of the EUTR and the FLEGT Regulation was performed in 2021 to evaluate their implementation and functioning to assess if they are fit for purpose to halt illegal logging and related trade.

Implementation

Reporting

Every year Member States were required to submit a report to the Commission on the application of the EU Timber Regulation for the previous two years. Based on those reports, the Commission draws up a report to be submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council every two years. From 2020, the reporting period was shortened to one year (in line with Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1010).

EUTR Reports and Reviews

Monitoring Organisations

Under the Regulation, "monitoring organisations" were recognised by the European Commission. These organisations which are private entities, provide EU operators with operational due diligence systems. Operators can develop their own system or use one developed by a monitoring organisation.

List of monitoring organisations

Expert Group

In 2014 the Commission set up an Expert Group on the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation to ensure cooperation between Member States’ Competent Authorities and the European Commission and to ensure compliance with the EU Timber Regulation. Now named the Commission Expert Group / Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World's Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, the work of this new group has been divided in two strands: the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation, and the follow-up to the “Commission Communication on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests”.

EU Timber Trade interactive dashboard

Interactive graphs to help users to identify key trading partners, temporal trends and commodities in trade, supporting EU Competent Authorities in planning their compliance checks on operators.

View the dashboard