NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance Launch Tool to Help Importers Transition to New EU Timber Law

June 21, 2011

NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance have launched a new tool today that will propel importers to take the necessary steps to prepare for the new EU timber regulation, effective from March 2013. Screening and management of supply chains is urgently needed for almost all EU companies importing timber and paper products.

Importers have special obligations under the legislation that require urgent action in order to ensure legal compliance by March 3, 2013 when the EU Timber Regulation comes into force.

“Those who do not act soon may find themselves in a difficult spot two years from now,” said Christian Sloth, verification services manager at NEPCon. “Many suppliers need time to adapt to the new requirements and provide the assurance that will be required.”

"Our Gap Analysis tool has been developed to meet the needs of traders that import timber and paper products into the EU," explained Sloth.

The new tool helps importers gain a quick overview and efficiently plan and prioritize their efforts to meet the legal requirements,” said Jon Jickling, director of the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood Program. “This tool complements our timber legality verification services that are increasingly in demand. Timber producers and traders worldwide are clearly becoming more aware of the importance of legality assurance.”

Stay ahead of the game

“We recommend that importers take the ‘better safe than sorry’ line and look into their supply chains now -- nobody wants to infract the law,” said Sloth.

“But it is equally wise from a business perspective. The whole market is about to change. In the future, traders who import timber product into the EU will not only be competing for suppliers who can provide the best qualities at the best price. The level of assurance offered for the legality of the products will be a decisive quality as well. Those who act now are most likely to succeed by gaining a first-mover advantage.”

The penalties for infracting the regulation are yet to be determined by the EU member states.

Key benefits of the Gap Analysis tool

The Gap Analysis concept is a self-evaluation tool that guides the importer to compile relevant data to gain an overview of its supply chain, identify key risk areas and evaluate available documentation that can mitigate the identified risk. “During development of our tool, we have placed great emphasis on its usability,” explained Sloth. “By systematically asking the right questions and filling in the answers, importers can spot the weak links in their supply chain in terms of legality assurance relatively quickly, and identify what needs to be done to mitigate the risk.”

In addition to the self-evaluation carried out by the company based on the Gap Analysis tool, NEPCon and the Rainforest Alliance will carry out a review and quality assurance of the results. “Based on our evaluation, we deliver a Gap Analysis report outlining the key challenges facing the importer. Based on the analysis, the company can develop a targeted action plan on its own or in collaboration with us,” explained Sloth.

The Gap Analysis concept has been developed over the past six months and tested jointly with timber-product importers.

Visit www.nepcon.net/gap for more information on the Gap Analysis concept.

Learn more about timber legality verification at:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry/verification/legal.

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