European Union Due Diligence

In July 2010, the European Parliament approved legislation which prohibits the import, trade and sale of timber illegally taken in the country of origin. In addition, companies must use a system of 'due diligence' to ascertain that the timber they sell in the European Union (EU) was harvested legally. The European Council has already agreed to support the legislation and is expected to formally adopt it in September 2010. The new EU legislation will come into force during 2012.

The newly agreed legislation is intended to work alongside the EU's Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing system, which identifies legal timber and timber products in producer countries and licenses them for import to the EU. This system is being developed through the negotiation of a series of voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with cooperating producer countries. For a variety of reasons, some countries which export timber to the EU will not join the proposed VPAs, at least in the immediate future.

The Rainforest Alliance and NEPCon have developed two comprehensive standards for verification of legal origin and legal compliance, as well as procedures for the independent, third-party verification of wood legality. Through the SmartWood program, we are helping forest products companies ensure that the timber they purchase comes from verifiable, legal sources and that timber harvesting complies with relevant laws and regulations related to forestry. Our SmartSource program offers Legality Assessment and Monitoring services to help companies map their supply chain to analyze and assess risks with the supply chain, establish a program to review risks and monitor progress as required by the EU Due Diligence Regulation.

The Rainforest Alliance VLC standard has been developed with the aim of meeting EU Due Diligence requirements and a this point in time we have received recognition of the standard from the Dutch Keurhout, the Danish Forest an Nature Agency has recently recognized the Rainforest Alliance/NEPCon VLC as recommended for documenting legality for public purchasing. The UK Central Point of Expertise for Timber procurement (CPET) has also recognized the Rainforest Alliance’s standards for Verification of Legal Compliance (VLC).

Learn more

The EU Due Diligence Regulation: what does it mean?
Which timber products will fall under the Regulation?
Who will the Regulation apply to?
What is "Due Diligence"?

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