I've been talking with Andre de Boer, Secretary General of the new EU Timber Regulations (EUTR) that will "come into full force as scheduled on 3/3/13." (See Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview.) We're concluding the interview with his opinions about the future role of certification.
Q: Without question, the new legality regulations seem to favor certified wood. Unfortunately, certified wood represents only approximately 10 percent of the world's commercial forests and there are approximately 65 different certification systems in the world, ranging from international organizations such as PEFC and FSC to governmental ones like the Malaysian MTTC. Do you know what steps the EU is taking to recognize all of these systems? A: The EUTR indeed effectively favors certified timber because of the fact that timber certified along certain standards get a more or less semi-green lane to the EU. The EU has issued what we call "secondary legislation" with regards to the requirements for the programs to be accepted under the EUTR.
On the basis of this secondary legislation it is safe to say that at least FSC and PEFC will qualify. We have a study running at the moment to see what other legality standards will qualify.
With regards to non-certified timber or timber certified under programs not recognized by the said legislation, then the EU importer will have to apply full due diligence. Again, we are offering them a harmonized system to be used by all the members (thus creating a level playing field).
We are, with the help of Rupert Oliver-you know him I assume-working on market research regarding the probable influence of EUTR to traditional trade flows.
There are two "schools" of thought within the ETTF. One says that the EUTR will more or less make certification superfluous. If you do proper due diligence, no need for certification. The other school-to which I belong-thinks that the EUTR will favor certification because of the semi-green lane nature.