The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force on 03 March 2013, making it illegal to place timber and timber products derived from illegally harvested forests on the EU market. To help companies comply with the new regulations, SGS United Kingdom Ltd. has developed a comprehensive, EU approved monitoring and compliance process to help businesses meet the requirements of the new regulation. SGS is one of only two approved Monitoring Organisations within the UK that are able to offer this service.
The EUTR applies to any business that trades in wood-based products, including many paper products. The aim of the new regulation is to prohibit trade in timber derived from illegally harvested forests. The critical compliance challenge falls on those businesses that first place the product onto the EU market, whether that be imported goods clearing customs at an EU port or forest products derived from within Europe, being sold for the first time, such as logs being purchased by a pulp or paper mill.
To comply with the EUTR, companies that trade in these products must put in place a ‘Due Diligence System’ (DDS). This system must gather data about the supply chain to enable identification of the forest source; it must gather evidence that the forest was legally harvested and that the wood was legally traded through the supply chain, and it must conduct a risk assessment on that data to establish if it is reliable. If a material risk is identified then action must be taken to mitigate that risk before the product can be placed on the EU market.
With an extensive network of offices worldwide, with technical experts in-house, SGS is uniquely placed to offer companies operating in this area advice and guidance in the development of a DDS to enable compliance and to then offer a review and assessment of the data provided by the supply chain, which is very often not written in English. In this way we can provide clients with a high degree of confidence that they are compliant with the EUTR.
Charles Townsend, SGS EUTR Technical Expert, believes their new service will enable compliance with the regulation at every level.
“Companies importing and trading timber based products want confidence that they are compliant with the EUTR. This can be a daunting task if, for instance, the product is made in Asia with timber imported from another region of the world.”
SGS has been working with a wide range of companies in the UK and across the world, since 2012 to develop tailored EUTR compliance systems and has used this experience in the creation of its EU approved DDS. This can be used by any company to provide assurance of compliance with the EUTR.
Competent Authorities across the EU are now fully operational and are actively reviewing a wide range of products for compliance – especially those manufactured in what are regarded as high risk countries.
The SGS EUTR Due Diligence System provides companies with the confidence they are looking for, allowing them to focus on growing their business, knowing they are on the right side of the law.