- 27th July 2010
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Sometimes, one wonders why it takes so long for some decisions to be reached… It appears that the EU is finally set to outlaw illegal timber in 2012, following two years of protracted and interminable legal arguments.
The fact that it has taken so long to come to this decision and finally get things moving says plenty about the way the EU works in itself, but also how widespread and complicated the problem is. While the European Parliament has never been famed for the swiftness of its decision-making process, the fact that an estimated 40 per cent of the timber sold in the world is illegally sourced shows how much has been riding on the negotiations.
Part of the problem with coming to a deal like this is deciding who is penalised for the illegal timber trade. After two years of talks and legal arguments, a compromise has been reached which will make companies responsible for tracing where the timber they buy has been harvested. The proposals, which are due to go to the vote in the coming weeks, set out the responsibilities all along the supply chain, as well as the requirements for risk assessments and due diligence on the provenance of the timber traded.
This is, of course, great news in many different ways. Not only will it hopefully help to stop the illegal and needless deforestation of huge swathes of tropical hardwood rainforest, but it will stop the profits from the black market in hardwood falling into the hands of criminal gangs across the world.
In addition, it means that those who invest in responsible, certified and traceable timber are in a perfect position. If the figure of 40 per cent of the world’s timber trade coming from illegal sources is to be believed, there will be a huge need for certified timber to fill the gap. This will mean not only that the price of the timber itself will rise, but the value of timber-producing land will also rise steeply. For details of our timber investments, click here.