for a living planet

site

The GFTN Guide to Legal and Responsible Sourcing

Glossary

Conversion -  Forests conversion involves removing natural forests to meet other land needs, such as plantations (e.g. pulp wood, oil palm and coffee among others), agriculture, pasture for cattle (e.g. around the Amazon region), settlements and mining. This process is usually irreversible.

Corruption (in the context of illegal harvesting) -  Authorization to harvest or trade logs or timber products is secured through corrupt application of laws or administrative procedures.

Credibly certified —Source category for FSC or other forest certification, with specified criteria and requirements.

Criteria

  • The source forest is certified as well managed under a credible forest certification system.

Verification requirements

  • Confirmation that the source forest is covered by a forest management certificate issued under a credible forest certification system at the time of harvesting.
  • Confirmation that a valid chain-of-custody certificate number, issued by an accredited certification body under a credible forest certification system, is printed on the relevant invoices and attached to the product.

Credible chain-of-custody certificationCertification of specified products as traceable back to raw material source by a third party (for example, an accredited certification body).

Credible forest certification—Certification by a third party that a forest is well managed, under a certification system requiring

  • participation of all major stakeholders in the process of defining a standard for forest management that is broadly accepted;
  • compatibility between the standard and globally applicable principles that balance economic, ecological, and equity dimensions of forest management; and
  • an independent and credible mechanism for verifying the achievement of these standards and communicating the results to all major stakeholders.

Due care - US importers need to exercise “due care” when sourcing forest products to ensure that they comply with the Lacey Act. Due care is a flexible concept that has been developed over time by the U.S. legal system. Due care means “that degree of care at which a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. As a result, it is applied differently to different categories of persons with varying degrees of knowledge and responsibility” (Senate Report 97-123). Given the lack of certainty around how the court might view due care with respect to the Lacey Act provisions, it would be prudent for companies dealing in forest and paper products to avail themselves of the wide array of tools, technologies and resources available for assessing and eliminating illegal wood from often long and complicated supply chains. Internal company policies and tracking procedures are a critical element.

Steps may also include bar-code or other tracing systems; legality verification; certification under third-party schemes; stepwise programs offered by various organizations, and other innovative public-private partnership models.

Exporters can also follow this advice to ensure that they are also following due care to ensure that forest products are legal when sourcing materials that are to be used for export to the US market.

Showing you have taken due care as an exporter involves a number of activities leading to one result: being certain that the forest products supplied were legal. Activities that can assist an exporter to demonstrate that they have taken due care include the points below. Exporters need to consider which of these activities can be of most assistance and should adapt their management to include some (or even all) of them.

Due diligence the fair, proper, and appropriate degree of care and activity, has been practiced to demonstrate that the forest products in question have been legally obtained.

Environmental status—The source category designation of the timber in a given product.  WWF GFTN recognizes the following categories:

  • Unwanted
  • Known
  • Known licensed
  • In progress to certification
  • Credibly certified
  • Recycled

EU Regulation on Illegal Timber - The European Commission proposed a timber due diligence regulation to minimise the risk of importing illegally harvested timber/timber products to the EU. Under the regulation, operators trading in timber inside the EU  would be required:

  • to use the due diligence system, to ascertain that products are legal
  • to identify the country of origin of their timber, and whether it has been harvested according to the relevant laws of that country
  • generally to be responsible and pro-active

Timber from VPA countries will be considered legal, and traders will not have to implement specific due diligence measures. This provides an incentive for timber-producing countries to sign VPAs.

Forest participant (in a Forest & Trade Network)—A participant who is a forest owner or manager. The participant may or may not possess credibly certified forest management units (FMUs).

Genetic modification – Credible forest certification prohibits the cultivation of genetically modified trees (GMOs). Forest products manufactured with GM content are not certifiable.

Harvesting charges—The charges due to the resource owner or official body, such as a regional or national government, arising as a result of the harvesting of forest resources.

High conservation values (as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council)—Any of the following values:

  • Forest areas containing globally, regionally, or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g., endemism, endangered species, and refugia).
  • Forest areas containing globally, regionally, or nationally significant large-landscape-level forests contained within, or containing, the management unit where viable populations of most if not all naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance.
  • Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened, or endangered ecosystems.
  • Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations (e.g., watershed protection, erosion control).
  • Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities (e.g., subsistence, health).
  • Forest areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic, or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities).

Illegal harvesting - Timber cut or removed without the required license or in breach of a harvesting license or law. This includes logs that are stolen.

Illegal logging (and related trade and corruption)—Harvesting or trading of in violation of relevant national or sub-national laws, or access to forest resources or trade in forest products that is authorized through corrupt practices.

Illegal trading - Timber, or a product containing timber, bought, sold, exported, or imported and processed in breach of the laws, including laws implemented under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

In progress to certification—Source category with specified criteria and requirements denoting environmental status of source.

Criteria

  • The source is a known licensed source.
  • The source entity has made a public commitment to achieve credible certification of the source FMU.
  • A site inspection has been carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced assessment team to determine whether the source FMU is certifiable and to identify all areas of noncompliance with certification requirements.

The source entity:

  • Has agreed to a time-bound, stepwise action plan to achieve certification of the source FMU;
  • Provides periodic progress reports on implementation of its action plan, and is open to third-party inspection to verify that progress is being made as reported;
  • Is participating in an initiative that supports and monitors stepwise progress toward credible forest certification (e.g., the entity could be a forest participant in the GFTN or a project of The Forest Trust - TFT or Smartwood's Smartstep programme).

Verification requirements

  • Confirmation from information issued by the certification support initiative that these criteria are satisfied with respect to a given source.
  • The timber can be traced along an unbroken chain of custody from the purchaser back to the source entity.
  • A second- or third-party auditor has confirmed the integrity of the chain-of-custody documentation and control points.

Known source —Source category with specified criteria and requirements denoting environmental status of product source.

Criteria

  • The purchaser knows where the forest material was grown and can identify the harvesting entity.
  • As far as the purchaser is aware, the source is not unwanted, as described in the purchasing organization’s policy. 

Verification requirements

  • The source forest is identifiable to a degree of precision that is commensurate with the risk that the source may be unwanted. For example, where the risk is low, the location could be as broad as a district; where risk is higher, the specific forest management unit should be identifiable.
  • The timber can be traced along an unbroken chain of custody from the purchaser back to the source entity.
  • Documentation is provided that identifies the source location, the source entity, and each intermediary in the supply chain.
  • The purchaser has systems in place that periodically check the authenticity of this documentation.

Known licensed source—Source category with specified criteria and requirements denoting environmental status of source.

Criteria

  • The purchaser knows where the timber was grown and can identify the harvesting entity.
  • The timber originates from an entity that has a legal right to harvest timber in the forest management unit where the timber was grown.

Verification requirements

  • The timber can be traced along an unbroken chain of custody from the purchaser back to the source entity. 
  • Each delivery of timber-based products to the purchaser is supported by documentation that identifies the source forest management unit and source entity and each intermediary in the supply chain.
  • The purchaser has documentation demonstrating the source entity’s legal right to harvest.
  • The purchaser, and/or its suppliers, has systems in place that periodically check the authenticity of the documentation and integrity of the chain-of-custody control points.
  • If the purchaser is made aware of any dispute over the entity’s legal right to harvest, the purchaser should inquire into the status of the dispute. An entity’s claimed right to harvest should not be regarded as having been verified while legal proceedings are in progress alleging that the entity is in breach of the law governing the acquisition of either harvesting rights from the resource owner(s), or regulatory approval (i.e., a permit, license, or similar instrument) for the harvesting of timber.  

Lacey Act - On May 22, 2008, the U.S. Congress passed amended a law intended to eradicate trade in illegally sourced forest products – including timber and wood fibre based products (such as paper). This amended law is known as the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act only applies to US-based companies as it only applies within the boundaries of the United States. Whilst the Lacey Act does not apply to other countries, it is of great importance to exporters of forest products who want to trade with US companies – US-based customers are relying on their trading partners to help them show they are complying with this law. US-based forest products importers will be seeking assurances that the products they source from both the domestic market and from overseas have been harvested, possessed, transported, sold or exported without breaking any relevant underlying laws in the country where the tree was grown, even if it was processed in another country.

The laws which are regarded as relevant and which need to be complied with include those that relate to:

  1. Theft of plants (logs);
  2. Taking plants (logs) from an officially protected area, such as a park or reserve;
  3. Taking plants (logs) from other types of “officially designated areas” that are recognized by a country’s laws and regulations;
  4. Taking plants (logs) without, or contrary to, the required authorization;
  5. Failure to pay appropriate royalties, taxes or fees associated with the plant’s (log) harvest, transport or commerce; or 6. Laws governing export or trans-shipment, such as a log-export ban.

Legally harvested Timber that was harvested

  • Pursuant to a legal right to harvest timber in the forest management unit in which the timber was grown, and
  • In compliance with national and subnational laws governing the management and harvesting of forest resources.

Legally traded Timber, or products made from the timber, that was

  • Exported in compliance with exporting country laws governing the export of timber and timber products, including payment of any export taxes, duties, or levies;
  • Imported in compliance with importing country laws governing the import of timber and timber products, including payment of any import taxes, duties, or levies or not in contravention of exporting country laws governing the export of timber and timber products, including payment of any export taxes, duties, or levies;
  • Traded in compliance with legislation related to the convention on international trade in endangered species (cites), where applicable.

Legal right to harvestAuthorization to harvest in the forest management unit

  • From the resource owner(s), and
  • Under a valid permit, license, or similar instrument issued pursuant to the laws and regulations governing the management and harvesting of forest resources.

Protected area An area of forest especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.

Recycled - A forest product made from post-consumer recycled fiber (for paper) or wood-based material that is sourced from a recovery process.

Reclaimed - Wood material from municipal or industrial sources that has been previously used.

Resource owner(s)—The holder(s) of property and usufruct rights over the land and/or trees within a forest management unit, including legally recognized rights held according to customary law.

SMART targets Targets set within a company or with suppliers that are:   

Specific. Clearly relating to single issue that needs management.
Measurable.
Defined in measurable terms so that progress can be indicated.
Achievable.
The target is possible to achieve.
Realistic.
In the context the target is a realistic one.
Time bound.
The target has a deadline or series of milestones associated with it.

SourceA combination of the supplying entity and the place from which the timber in a product originates. The source comprises the location where the timber was grown and the entity that was responsible for harvesting the timber.

TimberWood, fibre, and other woody materials harvested from trees.

Trade participant (in the Global Forest & Trade Network)— A participant who is a processor, manufacturer, trader, specifier, or end user of timber or paper products.

Unknown source - Source category with specified criteria and requirements denoting environmental status of product source.

  • The purchasing organization does not know where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity. The source forest is not identifiable to a degree of precision that is commensurate with the risk that the source may be unwanted. For example, where the risk is low, the location could be as broad as a district, and where risk is higher, the specific forest management unit (FMU) should be identifiable.
  • The timber cannot be traced along an unbroken chain of custody from the participant back to the source entity.
  • Documentation has not been provided that identifies the source location, the source entity, and each intermediary in the supply chain.
  • The participant does not have systems in place that periodically check the authenticity of this documentation.

Unwanted sourceA source that falls within one or more of the following categories:

  • The source forest is known or suspected of containing high conservation values, except where
    • The forest is certified or in progress to certification under a credible certification system, or
    • The forest manager can otherwise demonstrate that the forest and/or surrounding landscape is managed to ensure those values are maintained.
  • The source forest is being converted from natural forest to a plantation or other land use, unless the conversion is justified on grounds of net social and environmental gain, including the enhancement of high conservation values in the surrounding landscape.
  • The timber was illegally harvested or traded.
  • The timber is conflict timber (i.e., it was traded in a way that drives violent armed conflict or threatens national or regional stability).
  • The harvesting or processing entity, or a related political or military regime, is violating human rights.
  • The source forest is unknown despite efforts to identify it.
  • The timber is from genetically-modified trees.

Verified legal —Source category with specified criteria and requirements denoting environmental status of product source.

Criteria

  • The source is a known licensed source.
  • The source entity legally harvested the timber. 
  • All harvesting charges have been duly paid.
  • The timber was legally traded. 

Verification requirements

  • A third-party auditor has confirmed that the timber was legally harvested and legally traded and that all harvesting charges were duly paid.
  • The timber can be traced along an unbroken chain of custody from the purchaser back to the source entity.
  • A third-party auditor has confirmed the integrity of the chain-of-custody documentation and control points.

Next >>