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

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

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


Verification requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The source entity:

Verification requirements

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


Verification requirements

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


Verification requirements

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

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

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

Legally harvested Timber that was harvested

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

Legal right to harvestAuthorization to harvest in the forest management unit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Verification requirements

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

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