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2.1 Setting the Bar

The initial review should identify what the expectations are of the organization from a variety of view points. To establish these expectations, at least five things must be considered:

  1. Regulation in the markets where the company operates
  2. The standards of best practice within the industry or sector;
  3. Stakeholder expectations of the organization, these can be internal as well as external;
  4. Any other relevant requirements or guidelines (e.g., Trade Association Codes of Conduct or the GFTN Participation Rules)
  5. An appreciation of the principles of due diligence and the standards expected in the operating environment

Once this information has been collected, it will be possible to define what needs to be achieved in terms of overall targets, policies and processes.

The review should include analyzing the expectations of the following stakeholder groups:

From this investigation, a set of draft policies that reflect the sourcing organization's values and stakeholder expectations can then be developed. These can be formalized through senior management support.


6.0 Environmental Status of Supplies

Stepwise Approach

Figure 1

Having established its data-gathering and storing mechanisms, the sourcing organization can now begin to assess the data received. It is likely that the data will be incomplete or difficult to understand, particularly after the first round of data gathering, but subsequent rounds should be able to address these problems (see here for more information).

Each source identified should be placed in one of the following environmental status steps:

The next sections discuss each of these categories in more detail to assist in the process of designation (see also Figure 1). The remainder of this section deals with the criteria and means of assessing whether a source meets an organization's sourcing policy and with categorization for sources that go beyond minimum compliance.


7.5 Source Assessed in the Context of Exports to the European Union

Known Licensed Sources in EuropeThe European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan represents the largest international attempt to use the power of timber-consuming countries to reduce the extent of illegal logging.

The European Commission published its Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) in May 2003. Approved by the Council of the EU in October 2003, it included the following proposals:

The FLEGT and voluntary partnership agreements process is ongoing across a wide number of countries, mainly in Africa and Asia. The most recent developments, especially the latest information on where VPAs have been signed and where suitable licensing systems have been or are being developed can be found here.

VPA licensing systems have the potential to be a powerful and useful resource for responsible purchasers who can take advantage of sourcing products covered by such licenses. To date no such systems have become available and more advice will be available in 2013-2014.

The FLEGT Action Plan also prohibits the placing of timber from illegally harvested forests and products derived from such timber.  Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 adopted the EU Timber Regulation (EU TR) to do just that. The EU TR has specific provisions that:

Once products are on the market, requires traders of products to keep records of their immediate suppliers and buyers.

Who is affected by the EUTR?

Operators are those that place timber products in the EU market for the first time. Some examples of operators are importers, retailers or manufacturers that directly import wood based products, or forest managers that supply timber from an EU forest. It is prohibited to place in the EU market illegally harvested timber and operators need to apply a due diligence system to avoid the risk of such sources as well as keep records of their immediate customers.

Operators can either use their own due diligence system, use an already existing system or work with Monitoring Organisations. Independently of the due diligence system used, operators remain liable that no illegal timber enters the supply chain.   

Traders are those that buy and/or sell wood based products that were already placed in the EU market (by an operator). Traders need to keep records of their direct suppliers and their direct customer for all wood based products traded. Individual final consumers are not covered by the EUTR. The table below illustrates the specific requirements for Operators and Traders under the EUTR.

A “Due Diligence system” is a framework of procedures and measures to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products, on the EU market See the EU TR briefing note for more detailed information or visit the EC website


11.0 Environmental Status of Supplies - Recycled Sources

Credibly Certified Source

The raw material used should be designated recycled if it is either a forest product made from post-consumer recycled fibre (for paper) or wood-based material that is sourced from a recovery process. The definition of recycled varies in different countries and markets. To ensure that the policy and definition used are robust, a sourcing organization should check with its stakeholder groups. In most countries the term recycled infers that the wood or fibre has been used previously by an end consumer (this is also termed "post-consumer" recycling).

It should be noted that not every sourcing organization will want to include recycled wood and fibre within its sourcing policy. For many sourcing organizations, however, and particularly those that have identified recycling as a key issue among their stakeholders, there is much value to be gained through the use of recycled materials. A number of organizations have developed systems to certify recycled materials and have developed certification standards, including the FSC. More information on standards and definitions of recycled materials is available at www.fsc.org.

More information regarding recycled paper and WWF’s support can be found here.

What Does Recycled Source Mean?

Criteria

 

Requirements


7.1 Defining Legal Timber

Environmental Status of SuppliesTo direct your organization's sourcing away from the products of illegal logging and toward those in favour of legal operators, you will need to define what you mean by "legal" or acceptable sources. That definition should exclude products or activities that fall within the scope of the problem defined in your policy. The scope of concern may be broad, and thus be difficult to comply with, or narrow, which would run the risk of not addressing key issues. A balance between these extremes needs to be struck.

Verifying that the timber in a product is from a source assessed requires the purchaser to obtain proof that, in addition to having the ownership and access rights, and a legal right to harvest, the harvesting entity complied with the law when harvesting the timber and that the timber was legally traded and exported or imported. The category also requires a higher degree of scrutiny over the chain of custody. Forest management certification systems that require independent chain-of-custody audits can also provide this level of assurance on legal compliance.

You should also be guided by any market based legislation (Lacey etc) – as these laws and regulations will provide more detail as to the scope of legislation they require must be considered. 

Which Laws Apply?

There can be challenges in determining what constitutes an illegal act and interpreting global definitions within the context of the legal system of a given producer country. These challenges include the following:

In many producer countries efforts are underway to better understand and then to define the laws that are relevant to forestry and associated trade. These processes are seeking to also address the apparent contradictions and to provide workable solutions using multi-stakeholder processes, often within international frameworks supported by the relevant Government agencies. A good example of this international process is the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process. 

In many jurisdictions, rationalization and clarification of such issues are clearly needed to enable effective law enforcement. However, where laws are unclear, best practice for sourcing organizations, suppliers and auditors is to note the flaws in the relevant laws and state clearly the basis on which verification has been assessed, including, where possible, the rationale for the interpretation by the verifier.

In other countries, standards, criteria and checklists relating to legal compliance may have been developed for forest certification purposes. These can serve as useful reference points to interpret the forestry law of a given country.

Addressing "Bad" or "Unfair" Laws

Illegality in the timber extraction business is often a symptom of deeper underlying problems. A narrow focus on illegal activities may perpetuate inequities and corrupt resource allocation processes. Forest laws, or decisions made in purported application of the law, often reinforce unfair relationships or disregard customary forest rights. Arguably, such laws need to be reformed before their enforcement can properly serve the public interest.

The following are some examples of laws that may have undesirable results:

The key safeguard against associating with unjust but legal outcomes in a supplying country is to position your company's policy within the broader context of corporate social responsibility. Similarly, efforts to avoid the products of illegal logging should be embedded within a broader goal of promoting sustainable forestry.

Legal compliance is best seen as a factor that contributes to responsible forest management rather than as the end game. The GFTN Responsible Sourcing Guide deals with this by positioning legality as one step along the way toward achieving environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically viable production and sourcing of forest products.

Another safeguard is to have an explicit policy on disputed or controversial decisions by officials—for example, alleged corrupt or improper allocation of forestry concessions. This would allow for the reality that many developing countries lack effective administrative law mechanisms such as complaints procedures; tribunals to review official decisions; and the allocation of permits, freedom-of-information provisions and independent watchdog institutions such as an ombudsman. Where such systems are weak or absent, aggrieved parties cannot easily challenge official decisions made improperly or at odds with legal requirements. Your sourcing policy could include a proviso, for example, that if your organization is made aware of a significant dispute over the process by which the forest manager secured the permit, it will inquire into the status of the dispute and not regard the forest as a legal source until the dispute is resolved.

Another issue to consider when formulating a policy is that illegal logging problems are greatest in countries where forest governance is poor. In such countries the task of strengthening governance and building local regulatory capacity will take time, even where there is the political will to improve.

In the transition phase, purchasers can contribute significantly to improved governance by awarding contracts to legitimate enterprises that are attempting to do a good job under difficult conditions. This helps keep the 'good' operators engaged. It is a more positive way forward than boycotting all business in the country. Such contracts, however, must encourage constant improvement, and contracts with organizations that fail to take positive steps should not be renewed. The stepwise approach to responsible sourcing advocated by WWF's GFTN allows flexibility for your company, encouraging your business to stay engaged and to drive reform in the places where the problems are greatest.


5.1 Traceability

Establishing TraceabilityThis section provides practical guidance on ways of gathering and assessing data on suppliers, species and timber origin. The purpose of gathering data on species and timber origin is to enable a detailed assessment of the sourcing situation.

 

 

The data gathered is more comprehensive than the initial review, permitting the sourcing organization to demonstrate how policy is being realized through the supply chain and how, over time, the sourcing organization is improving its profile and promoting responsible forest management.

 

 

Timber Origin (Traceability)

Achieving Traceability Defining the Environmental Status of the Material

From the time the policy is implemented and, specifically, to set a baseline from which progress and compliance might be demonstrated, a tracking system must be developed that identifies:

 

  • Forest(s) of origin of the timber or fibre (where the wood was harvested)
  • Species of timber or fibre
  • Volume and value of that timber or fibre
  • Description of the product

 

Each forest source should fall into one of the following categories:

 

  • Limited knowledge of forest source
  • Source assessed
  • Source verified
  • Credibly certified or recycled source

 


14.4 National Legality Frameworks

The following National Legality Frameworks were developed by compiling all available documents constituting the legal framework for the forestry sector in each of the countries and conducting consultations at the national level with relevant individuals in the forestry sector including representatives of the forestry administration, government, research institutes, the private sector—including current GFTN members where appropriate, legal experts, NGOs and donors.

Please Note: The designations of geographical entities in this publication, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WWF, TRAFFIC or its supporting organizations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The views of the authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the TRAFFIC network, WWF or IUCN. 


6.2 Limited Knowledge of Forest Source

Known Sources

For the purpose of exercising due diligence, having knowledge of forest source is an important first objective. If the source is considered to be known, the purchaser knows where the timber was grown, and, as far as the purchaser is aware, the source is not unwanted (that is, at this stage there is no indication that the source does not comply with policy).

Table 1 outlines a hierarchy of steps that may be followed to establish whether a source can be described as known. 

A company has limited knowledge of forest source when:

Systems

No 2nd or 3rd party verification of information about source.


14.1 Introduction

The overall aim for the Common Legality Framework is to support companies and where relevant, regulators in their efforts to improve governance of their forest resources and prevent illegal logging and timber trade through encouraging compliance with laws related to the forest sector at the national and international level. By providing information on a forest-focused sub-set of applicable laws and regulations in a clear and accessible manner, this legality framework can help both regulators and companies—particularly GFTN members in countries of export and import—to verify that timber and other forest products contribute to sustainable forest management.

A further aim is to support the development of a more consistent and common approach to considering legality of forest operations, timber processing and trade that would be broadly applicable across countries. This approach is considered important in order to reduce the potential confusion among industry and governments that could result from the proliferation of different legality frameworks.

In Africa, the Framework supports the work of the Commission des Forets D’Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC) in the Congo basin. In particular, the framework supports COMIFAC’s Plan de Convergence, including sustainable use and management of forest resources, certification, traceability systems and national plans against illegal use of forest resources.

The Framework will also directly support implementation of the EC Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to: promote equitable and just solutions to the illegal logging problem that do not have an adverse effect on poor people; help partner countries to build systems to verify timber has been harvested legally; promoting transparency of information; promote policy reform; and build the capacity of civil society and partner country governments.


Defining “Illegal Logging”

WWF defines illegal logging, related trade, and corruption as occurring when timber is harvested or traded in violation of relevant national or sub-national laws or where access to forest resources or trade in forest products is authorized through corrupt practices.

This generic definition of the problem has three key elements:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Corruption. Authorization to harvest or trade logs or timber products is secured through corrupt application of laws or administrative procedures.

Below is a selection of the many definitions from other organizations.

Other definitions of illegal logging

Organization

Definition

Reference

United States Government (Lacey Act)

“It is unlawful for any person … (2) to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce .... any plant—

(i) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State, or any foreign law, that protects plants or that regulates—
(I) the theft of plants;
(II) the taking of plants from a park, forest reserve, or other officially protected area;
(III) the taking of plants from an officially designated area; or
(IV) the taking of plants without, or contrary to, required authorization;

(ii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold without the payment of appropriate royalties, taxes, or stumpage fees required for the plant by any law or regulation of any State or any foreign law; or

(iii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any limitation under any law or regulation of any State, or under any foreign law, governing the export or transshipment of plants

Amendments to the Lacey Act from H.R.2419, Sec. 8204 (1)

European Commission

'legally harvested' means harvested in accordance with the applicable legislation in the country of harvest;

'illegally harvested' means harvested in contravention infringement of the applicable legislation in the country of harvest;

'applicable legislation'  means the legislation in force in the country of harvest, covering the following areas of law: 

  • rights to harvest timber within gazetted boundaries;
  • payments for harvest rights and timber including duties related to timber harvesting;
  • timber harvesting, including directly related environmental and forest legislation;
  • third parties’ legal rights concerning use and tenure that is affected by timber harvesting; and
  • trade and customs legislation,

…. in as far as the forest sector is concerned.

European Commission 2009  (2)

Greenpeace

Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested, processed, transported, bought or sold in violation of national laws. Laws can be violated at many different stages of the supply chain and can include:
• Obtaining concessions illegally (for example, via corruption and bribery)
• Cutting protected tree species or extracting trees from a protected area
• Taking out more trees and more undersized and oversized trees than is permitted or trees outside an agreed area 
• Illegal processing and export
• Fraudulent declaration to customs of the amount of timber being exported
• Nonpayment or underpayment of taxes
• Use of fraudulent documents to smuggle timber internationally.

Greenpeace 2005 (3)

Malaysian Timber Council

In Peninsular Malaysia, three categories are used to classify forest offenses.
Category 1 covers offenses involving logging without license, logging outside licensed area and unauthorized construction of infrastructure and forest roads. Category 2 covers encroachment of forest reserves for agricultural activities and settlement. Category 3 covers other forest offenses that involve felling of unmarked trees, cutting trees below the cutting limit, unlicensed workers, contractors with no valid sub-license, unregistered machinery plus other breaches of rules and regulations committed within and outside the forest reserve.

Malaysian Timber Council 2004. (4)

 

Russian Supreme Court

Illegal forest felling operation (cutting) is cutting of trees, bushes and lianas without a harvesting license, order or cutting with a harvesting license, order issued with abuse of the existing cutting-practice rules, as well as cutting carried out at the wrong site or beyond a site's borders, exceeding the set quantities; cutting of wrong species or of trees, bushes and lianas that are not subject to felling ticket, order, before and after logging period fixed in felling ticket, order, logging of trees, bushes and lianas that are forbidden to log according to Resolution No. 155 of the Government of the Russian Federation June 1, 1998, or after the announcement of the decision about temporary prohibition, restriction or complete discontinuance of forest user activities or the right to use forest area. 

Resolution No.14, Russian Federation Supreme Court 1998 (The definition is related to the application of Article 260 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).(5) 

World Business Council on Sustainable Development

• Sourcing of illegal wood takes place when unprocessed wood is procured in the absence of the seller’s legal right to sell or harvest.
• Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested in violation of relevant forestry and environmental laws and regulations.
• Illegal forest products trade involves the procurement, processing, distribution and marketing of products made from wood that has been obtained by illegal sourcing or illegal harvesting and/or are not in compliance with relevant national and international trade laws.

WWF/WBCSD Joint Statement on Illegal Logging 2005. (6)

1. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/downloads/background--redlinedLaceyamndmnt--forests--may08.pdf
2. Taken from: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market; ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/.../flegt_timber_proposal_oct08.pdf
3. Lawless: How Europe's Borders Remain Open to Trade in Illegal Timber (Greenpeace Fact File, October 2005)
http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/lawless-illegal-timber.pdf.
4. Malaysian Timber Council www.mtc.com.my 
5. Resolution No. 14, Russian Federation Supreme Court from November 5, 1998 (The definition is related to the application of Article 260 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
6. WWF/WBCSD Joint Statement on Illegal Logging for The Forest Dialogue (March 2005)
http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=13627


Conflict Timber

“Conflict timber” is a term used to describe timber that is produced and sold to finance armed conflict. The definition used by the NGO Global Witness is “timber that has been traded at some point in the chain of custody by armed groups, be they rebel factions, regular soldiers, or the civilian administration, either to perpetuate conflict or to take advantage of conflict situations for personal gain”.

Conflict timber is not necessarily illegal, though this will depend on governmental sanctions that may be in place at any given time.

Conflict Timber—Relevance for Responsible Purchasers

Individual organisations need to be aware of the existence of conflict timber and should be prepared to adjust their purchasing policy accordingly. Where research or stakeholder interaction suggests that such timber may be present in the supply chain, it is recommended that the purchasing policy be reviewed and as necessary enforced to remove the source from the chain. NGOs and other stakeholders may be able to assist in identifying sources of conflict timber; the UN also may have information, for example, in the form of embargoes or other dialogue that may assist in identifying such sources.

Countries that have regional variations (i.e., the conflict is regional) need to use an extremely clear and detailed chain of custody to ensure that the supply chain involved is not associated with the region in conflict. The complicated nature of conflicts may undermine this process and not satisfy stakeholders that the issues can be sufficiently separated.

More information on conflict timber can be found here –

Global Witness www.globalwitness.org


5.4 Rating of Suppliers' Compliance with Policy

Establishing TraceabilityIn an ideal world, once an organization has defined a timber sourcing policy, it could present it to suppliers and they would then follow it. The outcome would be the delivery of products that fully comply with the organization's policies and specifications. However, the reality is that suppliers can find it difficult to comply with the most basic requests for proof of policy compliance for a number of reasons. Therefore, suppliers' compliance with the sourcing policy requirements may take considerable time and effort, and non-compliance may be the norm in the early stages of an organization's policy implementation.

Therefore, the first step for any buyer is to identify which suppliers are most likely to be able to comply with the policy, that is, those suppliers who present the lowest risk of supplying non-compliant products, and which suppliers are least likely to comply with the policy and therefore, present the highest risk of supplying non-compliant products.

By using systematic risk-rating methodologies, it is possible to develop future sourcing strategies based on the risk rating of suppliers, highlight actions that would help suppliers reduce their risk rating and monitor suppliers' progress toward being able to supply policy-compliant product.

In an imperfect world, rating suppliers based on risk presents the best way forward and the next step toward achieving full implementation of the sourcing organization's responsible sourcing policy.

More information on a risk-rating methodology, with a particular emphasis on legality, can be found here. Rating of suppliers is done using a range of information, some of it available in the public domain and some of it provided by the suppliers themselves. The rating process is really an assessment of the characteristics of a supplier that can be trusted to do its best to avoid noncompliant trading of products.

The basic system relies on the following actions:

  1. Sending a standardized questionnaire out to all suppliers
  2. Making sure the questionnaire is completed by the suppliers and returned
  3. Making sure that, where possible, suppliers provide appropriate objective evidence to support the questionnaire answers
  4. Using a straightforward and justifiable means of systematically assessing each returned questionnaire and giving the supplier a risk rating accordingly
  5. Giving suppliers feedback that lets them know what they need to do to improve their risk rating
  6. Implementing a means for monitoring continuous improvement, that is, whether or not suppliers are improving their rating over time
  7. Using a set of procedures that can be independently verified in order to underpin the thoroughness and credibility of the whole approach

This process helps send a clear message to suppliers as to what is important to you as a buyer. It gives them direction when they are probably receiving many mixed signals from the downstream end of the supply chain.

Note for GFTN Participants: GFTN participant companies are required to establish a programme that will ensure traceability over a reasonable period of time. It is a central component of GFTN participation.


9.0 Environmental Status of Supplies - Source Verified

Source in Progress to Certification

Sources could be legal but still involved in unwanted activities which are in conflict with the corporate responsible sourcing policy. Source verified means that the forest source has been 3rd party verified for basic social and environmental criteria-

Criteria

Requirements


7.3 Source Assessed in the Context of the US Market

Environmental Status of SuppliesMajor marketplaces in Europe and the United States have seen major changes with respect to market access requirements for producers and the role expected of those who import or trade forest products.

United States

In the U.S., the Lacey Act was amended in 2008 and seeks to eradicate trade in illegally sourced forest products—including timber and wood fibre based products (such as paper). The Lacey Act is only enforced within the boundaries of the United States. While 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—as US-based customers are relying on their trading partners to help them demonstrate compliance with this law.

The Lacey Act has stiff penalties for US companies that commit offences. Penalties for US companies range from: a criminal felony fine (up to $500,000 for a corporation, $250,000 for individual, or twice maximum gain/loss from transaction); to a possible prison sentence of up to five years; forfeiture of goods, a criminal misdemeanor penalty (up to $200,000 for corporation, $100,000 for individual, or twice maximum gain/loss from transaction); to a possible prison sentence of up to one year, or a civil penalty fine from $250 to $10,000. The penalties applicable are linked to the degree of care taken (or not) and the nature of the crime, ranging from direct knowledge of illegal trade and falsified import declarations down to more inadvertent mistakes. What should be clear to all exporters is that US importers are almost entirely reliant upon their suppliers to help them demonstrate due care and are more likely to trade in the future with those who can assist them in this process. Increasingly, legal compliance will feature in contracts between companies and civil penalties may be sought where there are breaches.

U.S.-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 but not limited to:

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

Note: The reference to “plants” includes logs, timber, fibre, veneer and all other forms of product later derived from the harvested plant (i.e. a tree).

U.S.-Based Importer Requirements

The Lacey Act requires importers to provide a basic declaration to accompany every shipment of plants or plant products. The purpose of these declarations is to increase transparency about the timber and plant trade and enable the US government to better monitor the trade and assist in enforcing the law.

The declaration must contain:

  1. Scientific name of any species used
  2. Country of harvest
  3. Quantity and measure
  4. Value

Exporters can assist US importers in providing this basic information. This in itself is not enough. Exporters should also ensure that all forest products that are to be exported are compliant with the relevant laws of the countries where the wood was harvested and also with any laws regarding processing, export or taxes within the processing country.

Exercising "Due Care"

U.S. 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 US 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, for timber harvesting and trade, 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.

Understanding and implementing a responsible sourcing programme for forest products is an example of a best practice that can contribute to exercising due care. The key with lacey Act compliance though is that the system should help to increase the confidence of the company in ensuring legal timber throughout its supply chain as prosecutions can brought even if a company felt it had done everything that is reasonable. The nature of the legislation allows penalties for selling illegally harvested or traded timber regardless of how hard a company tried not to do this.

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.


10.0 Environmental Status of Supplies - Credibly Certified Source

Credibly Certified Source

The term "credibly certified forest product" refers to timber originating in forests that have been independently assessed and certified as being well managed; that is, they are managed in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable manner. The independent certification process requires that standard setting, accreditation and auditing all be performed by different independent bodies. Forest certification inspections or audits are carried out by third party certification bodies. These certifiers in turn are accredited by an independent accreditation body. The forest audits must be site-specific and should assess management at the level of the forest management unit against measurable, recognized performance standards. These standards must include minimum thresholds for economic, social, and environmental criteria.

Final customers (purchasers of goods not for resale/consumers) seek assurance in the form of a chain-of-custody certificate that the timber products they are sourcing are from credibly certified forests. This form of certification requires that businesses that handle certified forest timber demonstrate that their certified timber and raw materials are produced under a credible chain-of custody system. Chain-of-custody certification can be coupled with a logo or label that can be used, where desirable, to identify timber from well-managed and certified forest operations. Independent forest certification and the associated market in certified forest products are both market-driven and stakeholder driven processes.

What Does Credibly Certified Mean?

Criteria

Requirements

Credible Forest Certification Systems

Forest certification aims to provide reliable information for end users and consumers of forest products, assuring them that the forests from which the timber originated are managed according to high environmental, social and economic standards. Over the last decade, various forest certification systems have developed to meet the requirements of different stakeholders.

To meet WWF’s basic requirements for a credible forest certification system, the system must:


Using the above criteria, WWF developed a tool called the Forest Certification Assessment Tool (CAT), which will continue to be used to assess a range of schemes and define an appropriate level of acceptability. Within the multi-scheme environment that exists today, WWF and the GFTN will support all schemes that reach a level of credibility as defined by the Guide or any future tools developed.

Recent assessments show that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system best meets WWF’s key requirements as described by CAT. Thus, while WWF acknowledges that several schemes may contribute to improved forest management, WWF will continue to use the FSC as the internationally recognized hallmark of responsible forest management.

The sourcing organization is urged to monitor developments in credible certification wherever possible to engage in debate, trials and discussions that will raise the level of understanding and long-term improvements in the credibility of schemes, leading to improved forest management practices.

Checking Whether a Source is Credibly Certified

The organization should ensure that it obtains a chain-of-custody certificate that is relevant to the timber or materials supplied. The authenticity or scope of the certificate can be checked either at the FSC website or, in some cases, at the website of the certification body.

More information regarding credible forest certification and WWF’s support can be found here.


13.3 Example of an Action Plan and Targets for a Responsible Purchaser

The initial assessment of the supply chain indicates the baseline from which annual targets have been set, as shown below:

Overall Performance Targets

Category  Proportion of Forest Products in Supply Chain Year 1 Target Year 2 Target Year 3 Target
Unknown/Unwanted 45% 0% 0% 0%
Step 1: Known Sources 25% 20% 5% 0%
Step 2: Known Licensed Sources 25% 50% 35% 10%
Step 3: Sources in Progress to Certification 5% 15% 30% 40%
Step 4: Credibly Certified Sources / Recycled 0% 15% 30% 50%

Based on this annual assessment and subsequent discussions with stakeholders, the following targets and actions are agreed to.

Year One Action Plan

Action No.

Action

Activities

Target Date

1.

Reduce unwanted sources to zero from 45%

  • Resend questionnaires to suppliers that have not responded.
  • Ensure that all suppliers that have responded have fully completed the questionnaire.
  • Re-source to known and managed operations any forest products that come from (1) HCVFs that are neither certified nor scheduled for certification or (2) inappropriate land clearance projects.
  • De-list suppliers that do not conform to this policy.

End of Year 1

2.

Reduce the known sources category to 20%

  • Require all suppliers with unknown sources to provide documents and assurances to confirm that their timber is from known sources.
  • Within six months, hold a seminar for suppliers (with the help of third parties such as WWF) to discuss methods of improving traceability to established a minimum of known sources.

End of Year 1

3.

Increase the "known licensed source" category to 50%

  • Require all current suppliers with known sources to provide documents and assurances to confirm that their timber is from known licensed sources.
  • Within six months, hold a seminar for suppliers (with the help of third parties such as WWF) to discuss methods of ascertaining the legality of forest products.
  • Fund research to identify legal compliance best practice for suppliers in key countries where issues have been raised.

End of Year 1

4.

Increase the "sources in progress to certification" category to 15%

  • Require major suppliers to bring pressure on their affiliates to join a stepwise certification programme such as GFTN.
  • Require medium-size suppliers to ensure that their sources proceed with certification. This will require that the secondary source first undergo successful preassessment from an independent certifier. All parties will enter into a contractual agreement on this basis.

End of Year 1

5.

Increase the "certified" category to 15% or more

  • Identify potential new suppliers of certified forest products and requesting that they tender for existing business.
  • Undertake new product development that permits the early consideration of the use of certified forest products.
  • Attend at least two major trade shows at which certified forest product suppliers are present.
  • Contact certified suppliers to identify potential opportunities for doing business with them.

End of Year 1

6.

Increase transparency and capacity

  • Publicly report data and performance year on year (in annual report/Web site)
  • Publicly report targets (in annual report/Web site)
  • Publicly report policies (in annual report /Web site)
  • Verify all externally presented data (using a third party)
  • Hold supplier and staff training and conferences (all trading and technical staff, 50% of suppliers, and two conferences)

End of Year 1 and on-going.


High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs)

HCVFs may be defined as one or more of the following:

Although in many cases it is not illegal to source forest products from an HCVF, in the context of responsible purchasing, such sourcing should be discouraged. Exceptions include where:

There is no definitive list of HCVFs, and it is accepted that it is difficult for purchasing organizations to assess whether or not forest products originate in such forests.

The HCV Resource Network has been established by a group of organisations who use the HCV approach, including environmental and social NGOs, international development agencies, timber and forest product certifiers, suppliers and buyers and forest managers. The Network aims to encourage collaboration, provide information and support on the evolving usage of HCV and ensure that a consistent approach to HCV is understood and applied throughout the world.

For practical purposes, purchasing organizations are advised to discuss the latest information regarding HCVFs with WWF and other environmental organizations working in this field. One approach would be to highlight key areas and regions in which it would be inappropriate to harvest forest products. A more positive approach, generally encouraged by WWF, would be to engage with the producer to assess the high conservation values demonstrated within a forest area and to manage the forest appropriately within the context of credible forest certification.

A developing resource for companies is the FSC Global Forestry Risk Registry. The Registry is a free tool providing information about the risk of sourcing controversial wood and other forest products from over 150 countries. The tool is currently under development by NEPCon, in cooperation with the FSC and the Rainforest Alliance. It is targeted towards companies wishing to conduct due diligence on the risks of sourcing raw material from forests and forest products operations in various countries.  


8.4 Steps to Exercise Due Diligence

Environmental Status of Supplies

Key Points in Excercising Due Diligence

Because simple, objective evidence demonstrating legality is rarely available from countries with the highest levels of illegal harvesting, your organisation will need to identify which suppliers are most likely to be able to comply with your company's aims and which are least likely—that is, which suppliers present the lowest risk of supplying illegal timber and which suppliers present the highest risk.

Your organization will need to develop systems for assessing and rating risk (risk rating). Risk rating allows you to do the following:

Step 1 - Assessing the Level of Risk

Risk rating is used to assess the likelihood that a given non-certified product from a given supplier contains illegally sourced timber. Rating suppliers based on this risk considers a range of information from various sources, some of which is available in the public domain and some that is provided by the suppliers themselves.

Risk rating consists of the following activities:

Requesting Suppliers to Complete and Return Questionnaires

The first step in the risk rating process is to send questionnaires to your suppliers. A model questionnaire and guidance that can be adapted for use in your organization is available here.

Analyzing the returned questionnaires using scenario tables
The returned questionnaires need to be systematically analyzed so that suppliers can be rated between high-risk and low-risk. The risk of illegal timber being traded along a supply chain can be broken down into three broad elements.

  1. Country of origin of the timber. There are risks associated with the geographical source of the supply. If a supplier is based in a country from which high volumes of illegal timber are exported and that supplier is unable to provide objective evidence demonstrating legality, then the risk that the timber is illegal is high. The scenario tables indicate the type of regulatory infrastructure that is most likely to encourage trading in both legal and illegal timber. Ratings for some countries are suggested, based on estimated rates of illegal logging or "suspicious" sources in those countries.
  2. Supplier company's attitude. The way a supplier operates with regard to a range of issues, such as its own general sourcing policies, how it relates to stakeholders and its attitude toward local communities, has been shown to be strongly linked to that company's attitude to buying and supplying illegal timber. The questionnaire asks a number of questions in this respect.
  3. Supply chain complexity. The way a supplier sources timber from its own suppliers is key to the risk of it trading in illegal timber or timber products. The questionnaire requests various types of objective evidence to assess whether sufficient supporting documentation has been gathered. You can analyze these three elements using the scenario tables. The analysis uses three different scenario tables, which relate to different sections of the questionnaire. Although indexes tend to be difficult to justify in purely scientific terms, they provide a systematic means for analyzing questionnaires. For example, the UK Timber Trade Federation, which used scenario tables for field trials (using a very similar approach), showed that the tables were effective and the results were independently repeatable.

In an ideal world it would be possible to calculate a risk rating for each product that you purchase—that is, each product in your inventory that carries a unique product code would have an individual risk rating. In reality this may not prove cost-efficient because of the difficulty of gathering any meaningful information on a product-by-product basis. Experience has shown that a more practical approach may be to group products into product categories, such as redwood mouldings from company X, rather than rate each individual molding (with all their different dimensions) supplied by company X.

Any supplier that has not returned a questionnaire within the specified deadline is automatically classified as a high-risk. The assumption is that the supplier was either unable or unwilling to supply the required information or too badly organized to do it. The importance of receiving the supplier's objective evidence to support the questionnaire answers cannot be overemphasized.

Examples of objective evidence can be found here. A completed questionnaire without objective evidence is just a self-declaration. Experience suggests that self-declarations without supporting evidence cannot be relied on.

Feedback to Suppliers and Monitoring for Continuous Improvement

The analysis of the questionnaire to reach a supplier rating has the added advantage of identifying weaknesses in the supplier's responses. It is then possible to give suppliers feedback, explaining how their score was derived and the types of actions needed to reduce the score. It is therefore possible to provide practical advice (without necessarily being specific or an expert) on how they can reduce their risk rating—an additional benefit to the supplier for completing the questionnaire. The types of actions that will move suppliers from the high-risk to the low-risk category are discussed later in this section.

Some suppliers may rate as high-risk in terms of supplying illegal timber in the initial assessment but they may strive to improve by changing their practices so that on subsequent assessments their risk-rating score improves. Others' ratings may change very little over time. It is important to maintain records that demonstrate how suppliers have improved their performance and processes over time. Experience suggests that suppliers who are unwilling to make adjustments to comply with a buyer's sourcing policy requirements are potentially also those more likely to trade in illegal timber. Over time you may wish to stop trading with these suppliers and replace them with companies that seek to support your commitments.

Data Management

Managing the whole process of supplier assessment involves sending out the questionnaires, following up with suppliers to get them to respond, capturing their responses and the associated objective evidence, analyzing the returns, and then reporting the results to all relevant parties. This process can be demanding in terms of management time. You will need an electronic database system and/or well-organized manual filing system to maintain the process.

Step 2 - Make Further Enquiries Where Needed

Once you have assessed the risk associated with a given product range from a given supplier and decided what kind of verification process is required, the next step involves implementing that process and, over time, progressively eliminating sources that are unable to provide the verification required.

One key strategy will be to make follow-up enquiries with suppliers that have provided weak responses to the questionnaire. Suppliers rated through the questionnaire assessment as being high-risk are likely to have not provided any or enough supporting evidence; thus the questionnaire, if returned, will be largely a self-declaration. You will need to either ask the supplier to provide more evidence or investigate the timber
source directly.

Gathering information from the upstream parts of the supply chain is frequently difficult. Traders are concerned about issues such as confidentiality, particularly if they occupy a "middleman" position in the supply chain. They are concerned that the objective evidence will reveal the identity of their supplier and that you may begin trading directly with the upstream end of the supply chain. Also, suppliers occupying an intermediary role may have great difficulty getting the information from those upstream from them, particularly if they only buy a relatively small percentage of their supplier's total production; that is, they have limited leverage. Sometimes the objective evidence you require just does not exist.

Step 3 - Improve Traceability and Verify Legality

Certified timber is tracked using inspected and verified chain-of custody systems that enable you to easily answer the question, "How did it get here?". Timber and timber products that supposedly originate from a certified forest but are not accompanied by a current and credible chain-of-custody certificate cannot be regarded as certified because the chain-of-custody has been broken and illegal product may have become mixed with the certified product. Chain-of-custody certificates apply only to timber and timber products from a certified forest. If a product comes from a verified legal forest, traceability is just as critical.

A key component of ensuring that timber is kept legal once it leaves the forest and enters the supply chain is to prevent illegal timber mixing with it. If legal timber and illegal timber are mixed, the whole product line can be "tainted". Once timber has left the forest, its legal quality can only be recognized if it can be shown to have come from that forest—in other words, traceability.

Without traceability, verification of the legality of forest management is largely a waste of time. The supply chain, or as some prefer to call it the demand chain, must have a dependable level of integrity. An efficient way of achieving this is to encourage suppliers to develop a system for tracing all timber and timber products from their own suppliers.

If you take the demand chain view, traceability should start at the downstream end of the chain and steadily be applied back upstream toward the forest. Traceability implemented in this manner will have a strong commercial orientation with a greater likelihood for successful implementation, with each business that forms a step along the demand chain benefiting.

Logs, timber and processed timber goods start their journey in the source forest and are then processed by primary and possibly secondary processing industries, exported, possibly transshipped and imported. All this may happen before the goods finally fall under your organization's control. Although it is critical to identify the source forest, it is also critical to make sure that the timber from that source forest is what you receive, rather than illegal timber that has infiltrated into the supply chain en route.

The traceability of the supply chain is vital for ensuring that you receive goods containing legal timber and that there is no "laundering" of illegal timber. In practical terms, it can be expensive and, in some cases, physically impossible to track timber down highly complex or fragmented supply chains. Complex supply chains will always be more likely to support the laundering of illegal timber.

The risk-rating system takes into consideration the potential for dilution of the supply chain by illegal timber. In high-risk situations that have a history of laundering timber, mixing legal and illegal timber to yield "legal" timber, the best option to ensure a clean supply chain is by tracking the timber from the source forest to the physical location where it comes under your organization's control. Without such tracking or traceability in their supply chains, your suppliers will be unable to meet your verification requirements for a verified legal or known licensed source or any other verification approach, such as those described below.

Traceability can be achieved through various combinations of paper- and technology-based tracking systems. In many countries where the trade in illegal timber is a problem, elaborate official paper-based systems have been implemented to theoretically track the movement of timber from the forest to the point of export. This has included the use of unique government certificates or permits covering the transportation and movement of timber in general. These documents are often linked with national forest legislation, and in many cases, it is illegal to transport timber without the necessary specific official permission accompanying the timber or timber products.

However, such systems can easily break down in countries where the regulatory capacity is weak because of a lack of resources or because of corruption, where the forest areas to be regulated are huge, or where the government has no means to manage data centrally. To make matters worse, modern printing technologies have made it relatively simple to corrupt paper-based systems with virtually indistinguishable false or forged paperwork.

Nevertheless, paper-based documentation is still the mainstay of traceability systems and is likely to be so for some time. A good understanding of the system that produces documentation, and familiarity with the "look and feel" of relevant documentation, will provide a measure of confidence and some safeguard.

To assist with this, WWF has produced a series of Keep It Legal Country Guides (in PDF format) for Brasil, China, Indonesia and Russia, for use in conjunction with this guidance, that describe how these paper-based systems operate in reality and their strengths and weaknesses.

The feasibility of tracking timber has increased significantly as Internet-related technologies and services have become more effective, cheaper and more accessible. Unreliable paperwork combined with scribed or painted identifiers on the end of logs are starting to be replaced by bar-coded tags and radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) with the data capture carried out with handheld personal computers (PC). This enables the tree-related information to be scanned electronically and uploaded from the handheld PC directly onto the Internet, and from there it is stored in dedicated database systems. These modern technologies provide the opportunity to link individual standing trees in the forest with the logs produced from them in a much more secure manner than was possible in the past. These approaches rely on the standing trees in the forest being tagged and then the data on its position and main parameters (height, species and diameter) all being captured on a database. The systems are made secure by using uniquely identifiable tags that are linked to the key tree measurements and resultant log metrics through a record on the database. More information on timber tracking systems can be found below.

Any supply (or demand) chain has a number of critical control points along its length. Critical control points are locations at which the timber undergoes basic changes, for example, where the trees are felled, where the logs are loaded onto a log lorry and where the logs enter the sawmill. The Internet enables information from these critical control points along the supply chain to be aggregated in a single online database, no matter how remote the geographic locations of the critical control points are or what companies are involved. To manage all or part of a supply chain efficiently, you need information on how the product is moving along the supply chain. An Internet-driven system of the type described helps those collecting the information to benefit directly from their efforts as they receive reports containing key management metrics that are compiled and made available the instant any new "flow" information arrives at the database.

In an ideal world, in countries where the risk of illegality is high, the timber or timber product would all be tracked from the standing tree in the forest to the point where it enters your warehouse or comes under your organization's control. The reality is that, currently, little tracking of the types described is taking place. It is a new approach and is being adopted only by the more innovative and forward-looking operators.

Tracking, if appropriately implemented, should help a business operate more efficiently. Information from tracking can be useful for forest managers, in terms of monitoring the volumes and species being harvested from each location, mill owners, in terms of knowing what logs, species or timber products are coming out of the forest and when they may arrive at the mill, the regulatory authorities, in terms of being able to verify the legal right of a specific forest operation to transport timber and for estimation of revenues to be collected, independent auditors wishing to audit legality.

Many of the business benefits have yet to be fully realized. Currently, log and timber tracking is principally seen as a system of control that is used by government and verification organizations rather than as a business tool. Once these systems are more widely implemented and understood, it is likely their full value will be better appreciated. (For a more detailed review of timber tracking and chain of custody systems, see Dykstra et al., 2003, Technologies for Wood Tracking Verifying and Monitoring the Chain of Custody and Legal Compliance in the Timber Industry.) 

A promising recent technological advance is the use of DNA fingerprinting to prove the source and traceability of timber. Each individual tree has a unique genetic code (DNA) and code variations between individuals can be modeled to predict codes across a given geographical area. The primary use is to verify source by matching the DNA from samples taken from individual stumps in a source concession with the DNA from associated logs at a processing mill. The second, and possibly more powerful, method amalgamates the DNA data gathered from individual testing into a genetic database covering a geographical area.

The database allows samples taken from anywhere to be compared with known spatial DNA variations in order to pinpoint actual source to a geographical range. Certisource Timber has tested this technology in Southeast Asia and is currently able to undertake DNA matching for Merbau, Teak, Nyato, Mersawa and Matoa species.

Some companies that provide log and timber tracking services include:
Certisource Timber - www.certisource.net
SGS -www.sgs.com
TracElite - www.tracelite.com
Track Record - www.trackrecordglobal.com
Other organizations offer similar services.


8.6 Choosing the Appropriate Status for a Source

Choosing the Appropriate Status for Your Source

The more an organization digs into the issues, the more information will come to light that may have a bearing on the status of the source. Sufficient information may be available at the initial baseline investigation to determine if a source is to be given the status “Unwanted”. Further rounds of information gathering may affect the status of a source previously categorized as “Limited knowledge” or “source assessed,” which will force a re-evaluation and perhaps a downgrading to “Unwanted”. In most cases, the process of gathering information, analyzing it and seeking clarification will take some time. However, it is important to make sure that this process does not become a method to delay making a decision on the future of the supplier and continue business as usual. It is therefore essential to set appropriate deadlines, agree on these with the supplier and clearly identify what will happen at that point.

The table below can be used as a checklist to identify whether a source is assessed, verified, unwanted or there is limited knowledge. It is also a useful checklist for compliance against the FSC Controlled Wood Standard.

Using information on an individual source plus information on the supplier of the material, work through the table to identify the most appropriate status. The table refers in some cases to “an agreed upon period” which is the period of time defined by the buyer and accepted by the supplier to meet this condition.

 

Policy Criteria

Limited knowledge of forest
Source

Unwanted
Source


Source Assessed

Source Verified

Legality:
The supplier 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, and has been legally traded.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed upon period:
The supplier cannot identify that the harvesting entity has a legal right to harvest (has a harvesting permit and authorization from the resource owner).


The supplier identifies the harvesting entity and that the harvesting entity has a legal right to harvest and timber has been legally traded.

Same as source assessed

High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF):
Regarding whether the timber is harvested from forest areas where forest management activities maintain or enhance high conservation values.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

If HCVs are only suspected or are not evaluated—
No special management to maintain or enhance is adopted for high conservation values.

If HCVs are identified—
(a) lack of willingness to recognize values, assess values, or engage in any form of HCV forest management; and/or (b) lack of willingness to adopt a precautionary principle for HCVs.

If HCVs are only suspected or are not evaluated—the precautionary approach shall be adopted and no timber shall be supplied until the presence of high conservation values (HCVs) has been credibly assessed and appropriate management (to maintain or enhance) can be planned accordingly.

 If HCVs are identified, evidence is provided that
(a) the forest is certified, or in progress to certification (and a comprehensive HCV forest assessment has been done and an action plan developed to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of the identified HCVs,
OR
(b) the forest manager can otherwise demonstrate that the forest and/or surrounding landscape is managed to ensure those values are maintained (usually this will involve a comprehensive HCV forest assessment in the site/landscape and a commitment to management actions and monitoring to ensure the HCVs are maintained and enhanced).

More information on HCVF here.

Unjustified Forest Conversion:
Regarding whether the known source is a forest that is being inappropriately cleared or converted, and/or timber that has been harvested from areas that have been converted from natural forest to plantations or nonforest uses.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

No evidence is provided that

  • a transparent multi-stakeholder planning process has been conducted;
  • there are no outstanding conflicts with local and indigenous peoples regarding the clearance;
  • where the forest is classified or suspected as being of high conservation value these values are being maintained or enhanced;
  • an environmental impact study has been conducted and its recommendations implemented.
 

 Evidence is provided that

  • a transparent multi-stakeholder planning process has been conducted;
  • there are no outstanding conflicts with local and indigenous peoples regarding the clearance;
  • the forest is classified or suspected of being of high conservation value and these values are maintained or enhanced;
  • an environmental impact study has been conducted and its recommendations implemented.

More information on forest conversion:
http://assets.panda.org/downloads/ wwf_position_paper_on_forest_conversion.pdf

Conflict Timber:
Regarding whether the timber was traded in a way that drives violent armed conflict or threatens national or regional stability.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

The source is clearly or strongly suspected of, originating from a country or operation that is not acceptable according to the sourcing policy.

 

Clear evidence is provided that the source is not listed as unwanted according to the sourcing policy.

More information on conflict timber here

Human Rights Issues: Regarding whether the harvesting or processing entity, is violating human rights.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

Internal and external stakeholder concerns
identify specific issues, countries,
or companies that are extremely controversial
or out of step with generally
accepted practices.

 

Internal and external stakeholder concerns
identify specific issues, countries, or companies that are extremely controversial or out of step with generally accepted practices.

More information on human rights issues here.

Endangered Species:
Regarding whether the tree species involved is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (or other schedules, as defined by the responsible purchaser’s policy) where trade is prohibited, or is listed in CITES Appendices II or III but the supporting certificates from the CITES management and scientific authorities in the country of origin are valid.

The supplier cannot identify the species of timber supplied or where it was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

Species is identified as CITES Appendix I.

CITES Appendix II or III trade (where permitted under the sourcing policy) is not backed by all relevant export and import documentation as required by relevant CITES management authorities.

CITES species that lack required documents can be consider “illegally traded” and thus should be regarded as unwanted under the “Legality” criterion.

CITES Appendix II or III trade (where permitted under the sourcing policy) is backed by all relevant export and import documentation as required by relevant CITES management authorities covering both export and import.

More information on CITES here.

Same as source assessed.

Genetic Modification (GM):
Regarding whether the known source is from a forest that does not use GM trees.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

Evidence or a statement that the forest management enterprise does supply timber from GM trees.

 

Evidence or a statement is provided that the forest management enterprise does not supply timber from GM trees.

Local Conflicts:
Regarding whether the known source is a forest where there is no unresolved conflict concerning local or indigenous people or civil society groups.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed to period:

Absence of a process for conflict resolution
and absence of clear evidence that
demonstrates that a process has been developed.

 

 Clear evidence is provided that demonstrates
that a process for the resolution of the conflict
has been, or is being developed:
(a) identification of all local communities or traditional
and indigenous peoples in the forest management unit and adjacent area;
(b) documentation showing the forest management unit’s ownership or legal right to harvest;
(c) documentation recording traditional rights as identified by the communities and peoples
groups identified in (a);
(d) documented evidence of consultation with local communities or traditional and indigenous
peoples groups identified in (a);
(e) documented evidence of the process by which any disputes are being resolved, which has the broad support of the parties to the dispute, and which outlines an agreed-to interim process for addressing the dispute and for the management of the forest area concerned.

Documented evidence of any payments to local communities or traditional and indigenous peoples groups are fair, and obtained a Free, Prior and informed (FPIC) consent.

Traceability Issues:
Regarding the data supplied and its completeness.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

The supplier has not returned the questionnaire or has failed to complete it sufficiently within the specified time.

Product is traceable to the forest management unit to a degree of precision that is commensurate with the risk that the source may be unwanted. More information on data issues and suppliers here.

A 3rd party has verified that the material does not contain unwanted sources.

Information Disclosure Issues:
Regarding confidentiality or willingness to disclose the source.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

The supplier will not disclose the source (forest) of the forest product within the specified time.

Product is traceable to the forest management unit to a degree of precision that is commensurate with the risk that the source may be unwanted sourcing

More information on data issues and suppliers here.

 A 3rd party has verified that the material does not contain unwanted sources.

Integrity issues:
Regarding the integrity of the supplier and supplier data.

The supplier cannot identify where the timber was grown and cannot identify the harvesting entity.

After an agreed-to period:

Other sources of information continue to dispute the information provided by the supplier, and the supplier is unable to sufficiently refute these allegations to the sourcing organization’s satisfaction.

Product is traceable to the forest management unit to a degree of precision that is commensurate with the risk that the source may be unwanted sourcing

More information on data issues and suppliers here.

A 3rd party has verified that the material does not contain unwanted sources.”


14.2 The Common Legality Framework's Principles & Criteria

The Common Legality Framework encompasses the legal requirements covering the entire supply chain including forestry operations and corresponding processing and timber trade relating to timber origin, production, transportation, processing and trade, and legislation safeguarding agreed standards in relation to environmental, conservation and social issues. This includes national laws, rules, regulations and administrative circulars, including contractual obligations that cover these areas. Legislation and regulations outside these areas are not included in the Framework.

The Framework is composed of a set of principles, each supported by one or more criteria. When developed for use within a national context the criteria are further supported by nationally appropriate indicators and guidance notes/verifiers – specific to that country – based on the existing legislative base, that are practical, easily implemented on the ground and readily audited. The format of principles, criteria and (national) indicators is a format widely used within forest certification and already accepted by civil society, industry and government.

The Framework comprises nine broad legal Principles. Africa includes a 10th Principle specific to their needs after multistakeholder consultations there. These Principles are the fundamental aspects to be addressed in all cases. Each Criterion represents an important aspect which allows the assessment of a legal Principle. Local indicators, verifiers and guidance have to be developed to allow use of the Framework within a national context and these will vary between countries relative to the legislation in force.

The Common Legality Framework’s Principles and Criteria

Principle 1

Access, Use Rights and Tenure

Criterion 1.1

The company is legally registered with the relevant administrative authorities

Criterion 1.2

Use, access and tenure rights applications are subject to stated pre-conditions within the laws and regulations

Criterion 1.3

Clear evidence of forest and/or land use, access and tenure rights shall be demonstrated in accordance with laws and regulations

Criterion 1.4

Use, access and tenure rights are subject to stated conditions within the laws and regulations

Principle 2

Harvesting Regulations

Criterion 2.1

Forest Management Plan in accordance with the government policies, guidelines and regulatory requirements, approved by relevant authority

Criterion 2.2

Harvesting/timber licence with stated conditions in accordance with the government policies, guidelines and regulatory requirements, approved by relevant authority

Criterion 2.3

The company implements harvest operations in accordance with the legally prescribed silvicultural system and relevant regulations

Principle 3

Transportation of Logs and Wood Products

Criterion 3.1

Clear evidence of documents and licences for companies and carriers involved in timber products transportation shall be demonstrated in accordance with the laws and regulations.

Criterion 3.2

Clear evidence of documents and corresponding markings of timber products for transport shall be demonstrated by companies and carriers in accordance with the laws and regulations

Principle 4

Processing Regulations

Criterion 4.1

Clear evidence of documents and licences for companies involved in timber processing shall be demonstrated in accordance with the laws and regulations

Criterion 4.2

Timber processing companies are subject to stated conditions within the laws and regulations

Principle 5

 Import and Export Regulations

Criterion 5.1

Clear evidence of licence/permit of company involved in import and export shall be demonstrated in accordance with the laws and regulations

Criterion 5.2

Clear evidence of official documents of timber products for import and export shall be demonstrated by companies and carriers in accordance with the laws and regulations

Criterion 5.3

Timber products import and export companies are subject to stated conditions within the laws and regulations

Principle 6

 Environmental Regulations

Criterion 6.1

State/company conducts environmental impact assessments or other required assessments within the laws and regulations

Criterion 6.2

State/company takes mitigation measures on negative environmental parameters in accordance with the laws and regulations

Principle 7

 Conservation Regulations

Criterion 7.1

State/company conducts conservation assessment/evaluation within the laws and regulations

Criterion 7.2

State/company takes mitigation measures on negative conservation values in accordance with the laws and regulations

Principle 8

 Social Regulations

Criterion 8.1

Company maintains or strengthens socio-economic welfare of local communities/indigenous people in accordance with the laws and regulations

Criterion 8.2

Company recognizes legal or customary rights of indigenous/local people in accordance with the laws and regulations

Criterion 8.3

Company complies with the laws and regulations on its employees’ and workers’ rights

Criterion 8.4

Company complies with the laws and regulations of its employees’ and workers’ welfare

Principle 9

 Taxes, Fees and Royalties

Criterion 9.1

The company fills in its tax returns in accordance with its effective professional activity

Criterion 9.2

Clear evidence of current paid taxes, fees and royalties in a timely manner shall be demonstrated by the company in accordance with the laws and regulations

Principle 10 is specific to Africa where stakeholders considered the issues related to subcontractors and partners to be important and upgraded this to a separate Principle. In Asia it was retained at the criteria level as an integral part of other principles.

Principle 10

 Subcontractors and Partners

Criterion 10.1

The company respects the contracts made with subcontractors and partners

Criterion 10.2

The company ensures that all subcontractors and partners are operating within the law


7.0 Environmental Status of Supplies - Source Assessed

Known Licensed SourceThe classification "Source Assessed" involves that the forest source has been evaluated for basic legality and traceability criteria-

Criteria

Requirements

Other inclusions

The sourcing organization should assess the issues and risks associated with the illegal harvesting and trade in forest products and develop policies and definitions that are a balance between stakeholder expectations, the level of risk and the practicality of enforcement.


13.2 Setting Targets

The purchasing organization should set two types of targets: one for their supplier and the other for themselves.

Action Plans and Targets for Suppliers

Reviewing and Improving the  Programme

The action plan for an individual supplier should be based on the responses given to the questionnaire. To fully understand the issues raised by the questionnaire, the suppliers should discuss them with the purchasing organization and develop a mutually agreed-upon action plan.

There is no need for a complete overhaul of the relationship if the problems highlighted by the questionnaire relate only to a narrow area of the business. The action plan should define exactly what is required for the supplier's business to meet the needs of the purchasing organization.

A good action plan should be SMART:

 

Internal Action Plans and Targets

It is important that progress be demonstrated to internal and external audiences. Progress in two areas in particular is measurable and demonstrable, namely increases in the proportion of credibly certified forest products in the purchasing organization's portfolio of sources and decreases in the proportion of unwanted or illegally sourced forest products.

The purchasing organization's performance against its policies and programs should be reviewed periodically, and new targets should be set for the next period of activity.

A purchasing organization that is a participant in the GFTN will have an opportunity to agree on an action plan with the local GFTN manager.

In all cases, the purchasing organization should look for ways to eliminate unwanted sources and increase all other source categories. Pursuit of this policy should, step by step, enable all sources other than those that are credibly certified to be eliminated from the supply chain.

When agreeing on an action plan with the supplier, the purchasing organization should be realistic in setting targets. An action plan can be determined and agreed to only when the first period of data collection and assessment of sources is complete. This may be as late as the end of the first year of operating a responsible purchasing policy. Ultimately, a realistic plan is one that is based firmly on the aspirations of the organization's own policies and on the informed assessment of the status of the supply chain.

The overall intentions of the internal targets can perhaps be visualized as in the diagram. This example is for a period of seven years and is for illustrative purposes only.


Human Rights Violations

Internal and external stakeholder concerns may identify specific issues, countries, or companies that are extremely controversial or out of step with generally accepted practices. Sourcing forest products from such countries or companies does not so much raise questions of forest management practices; rather, it introduces the moral dilemma concerning support for regimes and practices that have a wider impact on civil society or human rights. In extreme cases, the United Nations will call for trade embargoes on such countries, as will individual national governments.

Individual responsible purchasing organizations will need to be aware of such issues and should be ready to adjust their purchasing policy accordingly.

Sources Linked to Human Rights Violations—Relevance for Responsible Purchasers

Examples of issues identified by the UN organizations that should be considered in a responsible purchasing policy include
- the systematic violation of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights;
- extrajudicial killing, rape, and other forms of sexual violence carried out by members of the armed forces;
- torture;
- political arrests and detentions, including those of prisoners whose sentences have expired;
- forced relocation, the destruction of livelihoods, and forced labor;
- denial of the freedoms of assembly, association, expression, and movement;
- discrimination on the basis of religious or ethnic background;
- wide disrespect for the rule of law and lack of independence of the judiciary;
- unsatisfactory conditions of detention and systematic use of child soldiers; and
- violations of the right to an adequate standard of living, in particular to food, medical care, and education.

This set of indicators can be used to identify specific regimes, countries, or companies which, if sourced from, would directly undermine the overall effort to source responsibly. Furthermore, sourcing from such entities or places may undermine the wider integrity of the organisation.

It is arguable that it is possible to source forest products responsibly from such places, but this would require that the purchasing organisation identify and prove the benefits of such trade to the people of the country involved, while at the same time proving that the trade does not directly support the regime under scrutiny. This may not be possible in practice. It is extremely important that a purchaser that would choose to source from controversial regimes or countries first consult its stakeholders to ensure that such a policy has the required degree of integrity and support. If this approach is adopted, it is extremely important that consulted stakeholders’ viewpoints be taken into account and acted upon.

Particular attention was drawn to Burma/Myanmar, where forest products were directly associated with many of the issues identified above.

Guidance note on sourcing forest products from Myanmar (Burma)

RECENT POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGES

Since holding its first elections for 20 years in 2010, Myanmar has moved from a military dictatorship to a democratic system and launched major economic reforms. Under the government of President Thein Sein, political prisoners have been freed, media censorship lifted, and civil freedoms reinstat¬ed. A raft of liberalising measures has included a managed currency float, greater budget transpar¬ency, a newly autonomous central bank, and the passing of new investment, agricultural and land laws. Despite facing some serious threats, notably ethnic conflicts in Kachin and Rakhine states, Myanmar’s reforms have won strong international support. The EU and US have lifted most of their sanctions, and Myanmar’s creditors have cancelled the bulk of its $11.3 billion foreign debt. A surge in overseas aid and investment has pushed GDP growth to 6.3% in 2012 and a forecast 6.5% in 2013.

STATUS OF INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS
Most economic sanctions against Myanmar have now been lifted. Those that remain target arms exports, other forms of military assistance, and transactions with certain individuals and entities.
•    European Union: In April 2013, after a one-year suspension, the EU lifted all sanctions against Myanmar except for embargoes on arms and related materials. The EU has also reinstated My-anmar’s access to the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
•    United States: In August 2013, President Barack Obama issued an executive order rescinding a broad ban on imports from Myanmar. Restrictions on imports of certain products (notably jadeite and rubies) remain in place, as do an arms embargo and sanctions against certain individuals.
•    Others: Australia lifted all remaining travel and financial sanctions against Myanmar in 2012. Only an arms embargo remains in place. Canada suspended most of its economic sanctions in 2012, except for an arms embargo and financial sanctions against certain individuals and entities.

TIMBER PRODUCTION AND TRADE
Myanmar remains the only country in the world producing high-quality teak from natural forests. Over the past four years, however, harvest quotas for teak and other hardwoods have been scaled back in response to rapid forest decline. In 2012, the government announced a ban on log exports effective in April 2014, along with plans to increase support for domestic processing, draft a new forestry law, and strengthen law enforcement. The lifting of sanctions has reawakened interest in international timber markets and their requirements. A new and expanded committee has been set up to finalise a national forest certification scheme, and discussions are being held with the EU about possible FLEGT measures such as a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).

These moves, although promising, will take time and political will to succeed. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 85% of Myanmar’s timber exports are illegal. Logs from northern Myanmar continue to be trafficked overland to China in violation of a 2006 bilateral accord. Logs exported from Yangon port under the authority of the state-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) – technically the only legal route – mostly come from natural production and conversion forests where controls are weak, allowing illegal timber to be mixed into supply chains. Systems exist to track timber from the forest of origin to the point of export, but they are complex and only patchily implemented. Recent assessments point to a lack of data on forest resources and production, limited management capaci¬ties, and fragmented and politicised decision making, as the main hurdles to ensuring legality.

India is currently the main buyer of Myanmar teak and other hardwoods. Other importing countries include, in descending order of importance, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. There is evidence that teak from Myanmar is re-labelled in some regional importing countries as coming from domestic sources, allowing for processing and onward export without revealing its true origin. It is possible, though unknown, that this practice has declined now that sanctions have been lifted.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The lifting of economic sanctions means there is in principle no longer any legal barrier to trading in timber from Myanmar. However, some countries still prohibit dealing with certain Myanmar individuals and entities, some of whom may be involved in the timber trade. Buyers should contact their relevant government agency to check who is on the sanctions list before making any transaction. This advice applies to US buyers in particular, as the Myanmar Timber Enterprise is on the US government’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list (see: http://sdnsearch.ofac.treas.gov/Details.aspx?id=2994)

Myanmar’s new reforms promise to put its forestry sector on a more sustainable footing, but will take time to work. Evidence suggests that most of the timber Myanmar produces is illegally harvested or traded, or comes from natural forests being managed or converted without regard for broader conservation values. At this time, therefore, timber from Myanmar should be considered unwanted material unless stringent checks are made to ensure it has been legally harvested, traded, exported and imported; and that it is not the result of conversion, especially of high conservation value forests. Buyers are also advised to be vigilant when considering high-quality teak at competitive prices originating from countries other than Myanmar.

GFTN will continue to monitor the situation in Myanmar with a view to updating this guidance within one year.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Australian Government (2013) Myanmar country brief. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (link)
Canby, K. (2013) International Markets for Verified Legal Wood Products. Presentation at Workshop on the EC FLEGT Action Plan: Challenges and Opportunities for the Forest Sector in Myanmar, 16–18 July 2013, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. (link)
Canby, K. & Woods, K. (2012) Myanmar: Same Same, Burn-Out or Great Opportunity? Presentation at 19th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation, 9–10 February 2012, London, UK. (link)
Cho, B. (2013) Current status quo and issues of formulation of TLAS in Myanmar. Presentation at 3rd Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS), 22–24 April 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (link)
Council of the European Union (2012) Burma/Myanmar: EU sanctions suspended. Press Release, 14 May 2012. (link)
Council of the European Union (2013) Council conclusions on Burma/Myanmar. Press Release, 22 April 2013. (link)
EIA (2012) Appetite for Destruction: China’s Trade in Illegal Timber. Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), London. (link)
Eleven Myanmar (2013) More illegally logged timbers from Myanmar trafficked to China. Eleven Myanmar, 31 March 2013. (link)
ETTF (2012) Seeds sown for Myanmar-EU timber co-operation. European Timber Trade Federation. (link)
European Commission (2013) EU re-opens its market to Myanmar/Burma. Press release, 18 July 2013. (link)
Government of Canada (2013) Canada-Burma relations. (link)
IMF (2013) Myanmar Takes Wide-Ranging Steps Toward Economic Reform. IMF Survey, 28 February 2013. (link)
IMF (2013) World Economic Outlook Database, April 2013 Edition. (link)
Ingles, A., Hurd, J. & Wardojo, W. (2013) Exporting legal timber products from the Asia Pacific region – it can be done. The Jakarta Post, 28 June 2013. (link)
ITTO (2013) Report from Myanmar. Tropical Timber Market Report 17 (14): 7, 16–31 July 2013. (link)
Kollert, W. & Cherubini, L. (2012) Teak resources and market assessment 2010. FAO Planted Forests and Trees Working Paper FP/47/E, FAO, Rome. (link)
Kurlantzick, J. (2013) Myanmar's Alarming Civil Unrest. Council on Foreign Relations, 9 April 2013. (link)
Kurlantzick, J. (2013) Too fast, too soon: Why Obama's embrace of Myanmar is putting the cart before the horse. Foreign Policy, 21 May 2013. (link)
Kurlantzick, J. (2013) Myanmar’s Religious and Ethnic Tensions Begin to Spread Across the Region. Asia Unbound, Council on Foreign Relations, 14 June 2013. (link)
Lawson, S. & MacFaul, L. (2010) Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response. Chatham House, London. (link)
Myanmar Times (2013) Myanmar to enshrine central bank independence. Myanmar Times, 11 July 2013. (link)
Robinson, G. (2013) Myanmar signs deal with foreign creditors. Financial Times, 28 January 2013. (link).
Su Hlaing Tun (2012) Myanmar government plans log export ban, targets value-added growth. Myanmar Times, 5 November 2012. (link)
Turnell, S. (2013) Economic Reform in Myanmar: The Long Road Ahead. Asia Society, 6 February 2013. (link)
Turnell, S. (2013) Myanmar has made a good start to economic reform. East Asia Forum, 27 March 2013. (link)
U Shwe Kyaw (2013) Status of Myanmar's Efforts at Improving Timber Traceability. Presentation at Workshop on the EC FLEGT Action Plan: Challenges and Opportunities for the Forest Sector in Myanmar, 16–18 July 2013, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. (link)
UNODC (2013) Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Vienna. (link)
US Department of the Treasury (2013) Issuance of New Burma Executive Order. Press release, 7 August 2013. (link)
Win Myint (2011) An overview of teak resources and plantations in Myanmar. Presentation at Conferencia Mundial de Teca, 31 October – 2 November 2011, San José, Costa Rica. (link)
Woods, K. (2013) Political Economy of Timber Trade Flows in Burma / Myanmar. Presentation at 22nd Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation, 8–9 July 2013, London, UK. (link)
Woods, K. & Canby, K. (2011) Baseline Study 4, Myanmar: Overview of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. Forest Trends for FLEGT Asia Regional Programme, Kuala Lumpur. (link)


4.1 Communicating Policy

CommunicationsOnce a sourcing organization has developed a responsible forest products sourcing policy and implemented a programme of work, it is extremely important that it widely disseminates the information about its policy and all associated activities. At the very least, the policy must be communicated to colleagues and staff (most crucially, the organization's buyers of forest products), and suppliers that will be affected by the policy.

The sourcing organization may also choose to communicate the policy to other stakeholder groups identified in the review. The mechanisms for communicating the policy are varied and are best determined by the issuing organization.

Examples of ways to communicate the policy include the following:

Note for GFTN Participants: GFTN participant companies are required to demonstrate publicly their sourcing policy and will be required to demonstrate how this has been communicated to the supply chain.


3.1 Where to Start

Responsible Sourcing Policy DevelopmentThere is no right, wrong or perfect set of policies to underpin the effort to achieve more responsible sourcing of forest products. However, it is important that the policy be aligned with SMART targets (these types of targets are discussed later).

It is also important that policy makers consider the consequences of their policy prior to its implementation. Strong policies, for example, may have a financial cost that renders them unsustainable; and weak policies may attract criticism from stakeholder groups. Therefore, a workable balance must be struck. It is important for the values of stakeholders to be reflected within the policies developed.


7.7 Source Assessed and Forest Law in Producer Countries

The types of information and documentation available will vary by country, as will their reliability. Specific guidance for several major exporting countries is given below.

Please Note: These documents are for educational and informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with any law, regulation or requirement should consult with a qualified legal professional.

Country

For company use

For verifier's use

General guidance for this country

Brazil

   

X

Cameroon

 

X

 

Central African Republic

X

X

X

China

X

X

X

Democratic Republic of Congo

X

X

X

Gabon

X

X

X

Indonesia

X

X

X

India

 

X

 

Malaysia

X

X

X

Republic of Congo

X

X

X

Russia

X

X

X

Vietnam

X

X

X

       

General - Countries not listed

X

X

 
       

If the material is sourced from other countries, the sourcing organization should establish, through discussion with the supplier, WWF or other NGOs, or the relevant forestry department, which documents are required. Guidance on assessing the credibility of the documents and information supplied is covered in the next section.


13.1 Improving Supply Chains and Supplier Performance

There are numerous ways by which to improve the supply chain. This section highlights some of the more common methods and their benefits.

The Same, But Better

Reviewing and Improving the  Programme

Working with an existing supply chain has the major benefit of keeping out new and unknown suppliers or materials, with all the risks that these can entail. If the chain has developed successfully, a degree of understanding and trust already exists among the organizations that make up the chain. Therefore, working with existing supply chains to achieve more responsible sourcing is a desirable option when heavy investment has been made in establishing the chain or in the timber it supplies; the suppliers involved have unique skills, technology, or sources of raw material; or a change in suppliers may have an adverse impact on business.

If working with existing supply chains is to be a viable option, they need to be able to demonstrate a commitment to, and acceptance of, the purchasing organization’s policy and targets; a willingness to improve transparency in sourcing; a commitment from the forest sources involved to achieve certification within an agreed-upon period; a commitment from the intermediaries in the supply chain to achieve chain-of-custody certification within an agreed-to period; and the commitment of forest owners to seek participation in a stepwise approach program (such as the GFTN) to otherwise attain credible certification.

New Source, Same Suppliers

Manufacturers or processors supplying directly to the purchasing organization may have difficulty tracing the sources of their forest products, or it may become evident that these sources are illegal or include unmanaged high conservation values. Where the direct supplier demonstrates sufficient commitment and it is evident that the forest sources involved are unwilling to improve their practices, re-sourcing is the only option.

Re-sourcing while using existing suppliers offers the following benefits

All-New Supply Chains

Radically altering supply chains to improve the responsible sourcing of forest products can be the quickest way to ensure such improvements, but it is also the riskiest.

The following are potential risks:

The potential benefits include:

Other Ways of Improving

The ability to challenge, innovate and ultimately change can be extremely useful when pursuing the goal of responsible purchasing. Not every purchasing organization can change its sourcing or its products easily or quickly, but some purchasing organizations have this ability and can benefit from such changes.

The exploitation of alternative species of timber provides opportunities to source more responsibly, although if the purchasing organization lacks experience or familiarity with the timber some risks may be involved. As with all timber species, secondary (or nontraditional) species have inherent characteristics that can make them excellent substitutes for primary (traditional) species for some uses but unsuited for others. In fact, up to 70 per cent of output in some major producing countries consists of nontraditional species, and these species command considerably lower prices than the primary species. This potential provides a financial incentive to organizations able to develop markets for such timber species.

Initiating funding or research into the process of certification and the requirements of supply chains is an option for responsible purchasers. Not all purchasing organizations have the resources necessary for such work, but some major corporations have provided funding in the past. This type of initiative has direct benefits, not just to the donor organization but to all aspiring purchasers in a position to gain by using the findings of the research.


0.0 Introduction

IntroductionSince the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) first published its Guide to Responsible Sourcing of Forest Products and the closely associated Keep It Legal manual as paper documents, there have been numerous developments that resulted in this revision. The main change is the development of these web pages, which are searchable and easier to maintain—allowing the GFTN to continue to offer the best advice available.

These pages contain numerous links to other websites, many of which are external. As such, we are not responsible for the content, but believe these sites to offer greater depth to the understanding of aspects of responsible sourcing of forest products.

There have also been numerous developments within the sphere of legality of forest products. Legislative processes in the US, Europe and Australia and developments within certification and chain of custody have all prompted us to enhance the advice available regarding legality.

The ability to print most sections of these pages and to search a number of key terms is intended to allow you as the user to both take in the overall concepts and easily find what you need on specific topics.

Who Should Use These Pages

These pages are designed for use by a sourcing organization that wishes to develop a due diligence system for the legal and responsible sourcing of forest products. The guide lays out a generic approach for the development and implementation of a responsible sourcing policy, hereafter referred to as a responsible sourcing programme.

The guide is aimed at any medium-size or large enterprise, including primary mills, secondary processors, importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, which purchase or procure forest products. In appropriate circumstances, it may also serve to guide smaller enterprises.

The guide outlines the various ways in which sourcing organizations can exercise due diligence and demonstrate compliance with best practice based on compliance with their own sourcing policies. It is based on both tried and tested mechanisms and extensive experience in the development of responsible sourcing programmes.

The principles outlined within this guide are in line with the GFTN Participation Rules; and as such, the guide should help GFTN Trade Participants meet their participation requirements. All GFTN Trade Participants are advised to refer also to the specific guidance issued by their local GFTN manager. Where advice is specific to GFTN participants, there are links to relevant documents or additional guidance.

The original paper versions of these two guides are still available as downloads (PDF) and the following pages are printable. Every effort has been made to retain the core information of the previous published documents and changes have only been made where circumstances, processes or legislation has changed.

The implementation of a responsible sourcing programme to demonstrate due diligence is a major undertaking for any organization and requires a high degree of commitment to achieve results. This guide outlines a set of processes and procedures by which a sourcing organization can begin to address the problems that are common to many supply chains.

The first two paper-based versions of this guidance have been widely distributed in a number of languages and are currently used by several hundred companies representing the whole supply chain from the forest floor to the retail store. The guidance has been adopted by companies sourcing products as varied as paper and plywood to sawn timber and furniture. Although designed primarily for companies that are participants in the Global Forest & Trade Network, it has also been welcomed by companies choosing to work outside this network.

Purchasers of pulp and paper based products are advised to also consult WWF’s guidance with respect to these products where further aspects of production, beyond fibre sourcing are addressed. Further information can be found here.


8.3 Uncertified Timber - Reducing the Risk of Buying Illegal Wood

Reduce the Risk of Buying Illegal WoodIn an ideal world, as a sourcing organization, you would state that you did not want any illegal timber or timber products in your business's supply chain; you would then pass this specification to your suppliers and they would follow it. The outcome would be the delivery of legal timber and timber products.

In the absence of credible certification, a chain of custody; FSC Controlled Wood; third-party legal certification; or another form of certification that provides some assurance of basic legal compliance, the onus is on the purchaser to manage the risk of sourcing illegal wood. This process of due care or due diligence can be broken down in to a series of steps:

Suppliers in countries where significant volumes of illegal timber and timber products are traded often find delivering timber with legal verification very difficult. These suppliers often have little incentive to invest in legal verification systems. Their timber may be legal, but proving it takes significant extra effort and cost and therefore is not done. Suppliers can find it difficult to comply with the most basic requests for proof of legality for a range of reasons, such as the following:

In recognition of these realities, this section describes a four-step system to reduce the risk of having non certified timber that has been illegally harvested or traded enter your supply chain. The methodology is based on a range of practical experiences gained by traders, trade associations, and GFTN participants.

The next section outlines a systematic approach to evaluating the suppliers in your supply chains, including an assessment of the level of risk associated with each supplier and then, based on that information, the level or degree of legality verification needed. In addition, the methodology provides guidance on how to ensure that the timber arrives at the location you control without being substituted or diluted with illegal timber.


1.0 Senior Management Support

Senior Management SupportTurning policy and values into a programme that promotes the legal and responsible sourcing of forest products inevitably requires management support. Any activity that is seen as not being central to operations stands little chance of succeeding. Like all environmental and ethical programmes, a programme of responsible sourcing will succeed only when it is supported at the highest levels of management.

For smaller sourcing organizations, a programme of legal and responsible sourcing will require the support of a partner or owner to ensure that the necessary resources are made available and to ensure that conflicts over policy enforcement are resolved.

In larger sourcing organizations, a member of the board of directors or vice president should be made accountable for the programme. In all cases, the support of the head of the buying or trading function should be sought.

Key Points - Senior Management Support

Management Roles

The member of senior management should support the programme and its policies at the highest level of management in the sourcing organisation and resolve any major conflicts that may arise relating to the work. A member of middle management should manage the relationship with stakeholders, set and agree to targets, develop policies and negotiate with key internal stakeholders. A programme manager should manage relationships with buyers and traders, manage relationships with suppliers and develop tools to assess the environmental status of forest products in the supply chain. Organizstions that have successfully embedded such policies have broadened management responsibilities for implementation as widely as possible. Ensuing that all key roles are involved and in turn understand their responsibilities is a key to success. 

Note for GFTN Participants:
GFTN participant companies are required to nominate both senior managers and day-to-day contacts.


7.6 Source Assessed in the Context of Exports to Australia

Aligned with international efforts, including measures developed by the United States and EU, Australia further strengthens its leadership position in the Asia-Pacific region in promoting trade in legally harvested timber and timber products by enacting the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (AILPA) and enhancing international cooperation to combat illegal logging.

AILPA was passed in 2012, a draft Amendment was issued in May 2013 and is expected to enter into law November 2014. The aims of AILPA are to reduce the harmful environmental, social and economic impacts of illegal logging and affects to Australian timber importers and domestic processors of Australian raw logs.

The regulation does not require a due diligence system to be created for each transaction.  Rather, the regulation requires the establishment of a single due diligence system that can be applied to each import. For example, an importer may establish a due diligence system and apply it to a particular product from a particular source.  The outcome of this process will be an understanding of the information and documentation required to be obtained when importing that product from that particular source.

However the regulation that outlines the operational framework for importers and processors will come into effect after 30 November 2014.

In addition, the regulation also provides:

  1. civil offence and penalties.
  2. Infringement notice provisions.
  3. Administrative sanction provisions.
  4. Identity card requirements.

The law does not impose any Australian legislation on the source country, but uses the laws that are in placed in the country of origin to determine illegality of harvest and trade.

 

The list of regulated timber products is prescribed in a Schedule of the Regulation (http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013L00883). This list is closely aligned with the list of EU products, with some exceptions where the imports of those products to Australia are of low trade value and/or volume. It has fewer products than either the EU or US legislations and has an additional category relating to wooden framed seats.

Some products are exempted from the due diligence requirements of the Regulation. These include: timber products that are recycled material and any content of a timber products that are recycled material. Timber in a regulated timber product is recycled material if:

However, material in a regulated timber product is not recycled material if the material is the by-product of a manufacturing process. Examples: Sawdust or off cuts from sawn timber used to make particle board or plywood

 

Information the importer needs:

-          Evidence that the product has not been illegally logged

-          Information on whether the harvesting of that tree species from which the timber was derived is prohibited in the place of harvest or not

-          If the harvest of the timber in that place is authorised by legislation and regulation – proof that the requirements of the legislation been met for the harvest of that timber

-          If payment is required for the right to harvest the timber – proof that payment has been made

-          Information on whether the harvest of the timber was consistent with the law establishing or protecting the legal rights of use and tenure in the place of harvest or not 

 

Before importing a regulated timber product into Australia, an importer must have a due diligence system and retain a written record of that due diligence system. The requirements for a due diligence system may be summarised as a four step process to be put in place by an importer as set out below.

Step 1: Information gathering (section 10 of the AILPA)

  1. An importer must obtain as much of the prescribed information as is reasonably practicable. The Regulation includes a list of types of information to be obtained by an importer.

Step 2: Optional process - assessing and identifying risk against a timber legality framework (section 11) or a country specific guideline (once they are prescribed) (section 12)

  1.      ii.        Under the Regulation, in certain circumstances, an importer may elect to assess the risk that the timber in the product they are importing has been illegally harvested using either:

-          a timber legality framework that is prescribed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Regulation; or

-          a country specific guideline (once they are prescribed in Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Regulation). The Regulation requires that, should an importer elect to use this optional process, they must:

  1. Should an importer elect to use this optional process and, in doing so, assess that there is a low risk that the timber product is illegally logged, then the requirements under section 13 do not apply. In circumstances where section 13 does not apply, risk mitigation (section 14) also does not apply.
  2. However, risk mitigation does apply in circumstances where the importer is required to use section 13 and the risk that the timber product was illegally logged, as assessed under section 13, is not a low risk.

Step 3: Risk assessment (section 13)

  1.       i.        Where an importer has not used the optional process set out in Step 2, or where they have used the Step 2 process but they have identified a risk that the timber is illegally logged and the risk is other than a low risk, an importer must undertake a risk assessment in accordance with section 13.
  1. The Regulation requires the importer, as part of this process, to identify and assess any risks by taking into consideration the risk factors that are referred to in subsections 13(2) and (3).

Step 4: Risk mitigation (section 14)

  1. Where an importer has, during Step 3, identified a risk that the timber was illegally logged and the risk was not a low risk, an importer must undertake a risk mitigation process in accordance with       the Regulation.  The Regulation requires the risk mitigation process to be adequate and proportionate to the identified risk.

 

Timber sourced from certified forests (*FSC or **PEFC) will automatically be determined to be “low risk by the AILPA.

The act requires a declaration about the timber legality at the point of import of each shipment. Importers of regulated timber products must have declarations, at the time of import, to the Customs Minister about the due diligence that they have undertaken.

Detailed information on the AILPA can be found here: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013L00883


0.2 Responsible Sourcing Programme Elements

Seven Essential Elements of a Responsible Purchasing ProgrammeThe stepwise approach cannot operate in isolation and needs a supporting process that seeks continuous improvement, similar to that used by environmental management systems. The supporting process requires that a number of key elements be in place. The remainder of this guide discusses these elements in detail.

Implementation of a responsible sourcing programme requires several key elements, which form the essential building blocks:

  1. Obtaining support from key members of senior management
  2. Reviewing the organization's present situation (whether at the starting point or a stage in an existing process) and establishing a baseline
  3. Setting policies that describe the boundaries within which the organization will operate (that is, its values and aspirations)
  4. Communicating its values and objectives to key audiences
  5. Establishing traceability
  6. Assessing the environmental status of supplies - due diligence 
  7. Reviewing and improving - due diligence

These seven elements form the basis for the remainder of this document. Appendices and links provide more detail where needed. The stepwise approach is mainly contained in elements six and seven, though all elements need to be in place for the system to operate correctly.Program Elements




This is an excerpt from WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) Guide to Responsible Purchasing. All rights reserved. © WWF. The full text can be accessed online at rpg.gftn.panda.org.
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