Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market – also known as the EU Timber Regulation or EUTR counters the trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products through three key obligations:
Once on the market, the timber and timber products may be sold and/or transformed before they reach the final consumer. To facilitate the traceability of timber products, economic operators in this part of the supply chain (referred to as traders in the regulation) have an obligation to
The Regulation covers a wide range of timber products listed in its Annex, using EU Customs code nomenclature.
The Regulation entered into application on 3 March 2013.
The core of the 'due diligence' notion is that operators undertake a risk management exercise so as to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber, or timber products containing illegally harvested timber, on the EU market.
The three key elements of the "due diligence system" are:
The Regulation covers a broad range of timber products including solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper. Not included are recycled products, as well as printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers. The product scope can be amended if necessary.
The Regulation applies to both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products.
The Regulation is legally binding on all 28 EU Member States, which are responsible for laying down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties and for enforcing the Regulation.
To ensure cooperation between Member States Competent Authorities and with the European Commission, in order to ensure compliance with the EU Timber Regulation (in the spirit of Article 12 of the EUTR), and to assist the Commission in ensuring uniform implementation of the EUTR and FLEGT Regulation across the European Union, the Commission has set up an Expert Group on the EU Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation. The Expert Group meets four to five times per year. Regarding the EUTR, it is tasked to exchange information, between the Competent Authorities and with the Commission, on shortcomings detected through the checks referred to in Articles 8(4) and 10(1) of the EUTR and on the types of penalties imposed in accordance with Article 19 of the EUTR, identifying best practices and sharing lessons learnt. A summary record of the meetings is published in the Register of Commission Expert Groups.
Overviews of timber source countries are being produced by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, to support the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation. Information on the risks of illegality from different timber source countries and timber supply chains assists the work of Competent Authorities in applying a risk-based approach to planning their checks on operators. It also assists operators, who are required to undertake a risk management exercise as part of their Due Diligence System. So far, EU Timber Regulation country overviews are available for: Brazil, China, Myanmar, Russian Federation and Ukraine. [These overviews, developed by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission, have been subject to external peer review and will be updated periodically based on available information. They reflect the views of the authors only, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.]
Briefing notes on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation have been compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission in close cooperation with the Member States Competent Authorities. So far there are notes covering the following periods: October 2016 to March 2017, April to May 2017, June to July 2017, August to October 2017, November 2017 to January 2018, February to March 2018, April to May 2018, June to August 2018, September to October 2018, November to December 2018, January to February 2019.
The Commission already adopted two Reports on the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation, based on the reports from the 28 EU Member States and Norway. The first Report covers the period March 2013 to March 2015 and the second Report covers the period March 2015 to February 2017.
An overview of the EUTR compliance checks performed and penalties imposed by EU Member States’ and EEA Competent Authorities to enforce the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation is planned to be produced biennially. These reports are based on the data provided by the Competent Authorities on a voluntary basis in a format agreed with them and compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission. So far the overviews cover the following periods: March-May 2017, June-November 2017, December 2017-June 2018, July-December 2018.
An EU Timber Trade interactive dashboard has been created by UNEP-WCMC, as an accompaniment to a report analysing patterns of trade in timber and timber products into and within the European Union over the period 2006-2016 [to be published soon]. Interactive graphs based on EuroStat ComExt data enable users to identify key trading partners, temporal trends and commodities in trade, supporting EU Competent Authorities in planning their compliance checks on operators.
A report looking at the interplay between the EU Timber Regulation and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations has recently been prepared by UNEP-WCMC for the European Commission. The report reviews approaches to verifying the legality of timber entering the EU under these two Regulations, and provides a comparative analysis of the CITES verification of legal acquisition and the EUTR due diligence. The minutes of a joint EUTR-CITES Expert Group meeting held on 13/02/19 are available here.
The Regulation provides for "Monitoring organisations" to be recognised by the European Commission. These organisations which are private entities, provide EU operators with operational due diligence systems. Operators can thus develop their own system or use one developed by a monitoring organisation.
To become a Monitoring Organisation, candidates must send their application to the following e-mail address: ENV-TIMBER-REG@ec.europa.eu
The Commission charges no fees for recognition of Monitoring Organisations.
Candidates may send applications in any of the EU official languages; however a copy translated into English will facilitate and speed up the assessment process. Applicants must clearly state in a cover letter in which EU Member States they intend to provide services. A table with basic minimum description of a due diligence system may be found here, while the assessment tables can be found here.
The Commission adopted Commission delegated Regulation of 23.2.2012 on the procedural rules for the recognition and withdrawal of recognition of monitoring organisations as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market.
The Commission adopted an implementing regulation on the risk assessment and risk mitigation measures which are part of the "due diligence system" as well as on the frequency and nature of checks which Member States` competent authorities will conduct on the monitoring organizations to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Regulation. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure the uniform implementation of the EU Timber Regulation.
The updated version of the Guidance Document for the EU Timber Regulation was adopted on 12 February 2016. It is published in the 23 languages of the EU and replaces the Guidance document of 2013.
The Commission also adopted a guidance document on the verification of legality in timber trade for CITES-listed tree species imported into the EU.
Additional guidance on the following matters has been agreed by the FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group: Recycled timber and timber products, Substantiated concerns and Risk mitigation measures.
Further guidance documents and updates of existing guidance will be integrated in the above-mentioned Commission notice 'Guidance document for the EU Timber Regulation' at its next update.