EU sustainable timber sourcing could protect over 5 million ha of tropical forest - report
Utrecht, Netherlands: Tuesday
26 June 2018: If just seven Europe's leading
tropical timber-importing countries (the UK, the
Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and
Spain) committed to 100% sustainable sourcing of
timber, over 5 million hectares of tropical forest
could be sustainably protected.
This is one of the headline
findings of the latest report from the European Sustainable Tropical
Timber Coalition (STTC), convened by the Sustainable Trade
Initiative and written by
the forest and timber sector expert Probos.
The report, titled ‘How
Sustainable are Europe's Tropical Timber Imports?' identifies
trends in the trade of tropical timber on the EU
market, and explores how an EU commitment to 100%
verified sustainable tropical timber can contribute to
deforestation-free supply chains and help meet climate
change mitigation targets.
It presents as key findings
- Just 30%
of tropical timber products on the EU market are
estimated to be verified sustainable.
- If the seven main
timber-consuming countries (Germany, France, the UK,
Netherlands and Italy plus Belgium and Spain)
sourced only verified sustainable primary tropical
timber, an estimated additional 5.3
million ha of tropical forests can be sustainably
managed and protected.
- More European ambition and
public-private action is needed to push up the
market share of verified sustainable tropical timber
There is considerable scope to
push up this market share of verified sustainable
tropical timber in the EU, in countries like France,
Belgium and Spain, where the market shares are as low
as 12%, but also in countries like the UK and
Netherlands with market shares stagnating around 60%.
Six out of the seven main
markets have signed the Amsterdam Declaration, committing to sustainable
sourcing of the ‘deforestation commodities' palm oil,
soy and cocoa - but not timber.
Nienke Stam of IDH's Tropical
Timber Program says:
"If we are serious about
halting tropical deforestation, the European
deforestation-free commodity also agenda needs to
include ambitious targets on verified sustainable
At present, tropical forestry
operators have limited market incentives to continue
sustainable operations, while competition from mainly
Asian markets, which are in general not committed to
sustainability standards, is fierce. With the market
recovering, the report calls for governments, NGOs and
the private sector in EU timber importing countries to
focus more attention on increasing the market share of
verified sustainable tropical timber.
Daan Wensing, IDH's Landscapes
Program Director says:
"IDH supports initiatives related to agricultural
commodities such as palm oil, soy and cocoa with the
aim to get to 100% verified sustainable imports for
the entire EU. For timber we aim to do the same, in
partnership with the private and public sector in
producing and sourcing countries."
To support such an
agenda, IDH and the European STTC partners also
recognize the need for more reliable data on the
market share of verified sustainable timber, for
improved transparency and accountability. At the date
of publishing this report, a new partnership is being
forged to report on this from 2018 to 2020.
Mark van Benthem of
experience in the Netherlands tells us that accurate
market intelligence is key for knowing which market
to target for measures to increase sustainability to
be effective. These market figures can now be linked
to an area of tropical forest which is positively
impacted by the choices we make in Europe. This
should give a strong boost to our message: sustain
forests, support sustainably sourced timber."
The majority of Europe's
tropical roundwood, sawnwood and veneer is imported
from Africa and its tropical plywood mainly originates
from Asian countries.
meeting of the Amsterdam Declaration signatories
takes place in Paris on 27 June 2018. Find out more.
The subject of using data to
grow the market for verified sustainable timber
uptake will be discussed at the 5th annual
European STTC conference ‘Using data to drive
market share' in Paris on 25 October 2018. Register for the event
Source: IDH Timber
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