What is BFM doing to help member companies with EUTR
The BFM has produced an information tool to help member companies understand whether you are classed as an 'Operator' or 'Trader' under EUTR and where appropriate to guide you through the due diligence process, for both certified and uncertified timber and timber products. These guides will be developed and refined as we approach the implmentation of the EUTR.
The introduction of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) from March 2013 will prohibit the placement of illegal timber or timber products on the EU markets. Operators are those that first place timber or timber products on the EU market. They are required to exercise due diligence (a framework of measures and procedures) when placing the products on the market to determine that they are not illegally harvested. A ‘trader’ is a company further down the supply chain that has not first placed timber or timber products onto the EU market and must record the name and address of the supplier and the name and address of the customer, in the latter case, only if it is business to business.
It has become clear to the BFM that many multiples and some independent furniture retail stores will expect their furniture suppliers to satisfy them that the product is legally sourced in accordance with the EUTR. This means that even if a company is classified as a trader, the retailer will expect proof of legality and therefore the furniture supplier (even though not the ‘operator’) will need to obtain from its immediate supplier any relevant information and documentation that the retailer requires. This is all about brand and reputation. The British Retail Consortium has produced guidance for its members on what they should expect from their suppliers.
The EUTR for no logical reason we can ascertain excludes seats from its scope and therefore this means that a sofa for example could be imported from a country outside of the EU and contain illegally sourced wood but would not be subject to the due diligence requirement. However, if a furniture manufacturer brought-in wood direct from outside of the EU to make a sofa, that wood would be subject to the EUTR and its due diligence requirements. Why are seats exempt? The reason it seems is that seats were simply overlooked by the legislators. The BFM through the British Furniture Confederation and through the European employers association for the furniture and wood industry (UEA) are lobbying on this issue and we understand that seats will be included within the EUTR at some future point. Also it is worth stating that this exemption will be ignored by many retailers if they are keen to protect their reputation.
What has BFM done and what is it doing?
- Introductory seminar – September 2012 (supported by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF))
- Workshop on implementing the EUTR – December 2012 (members only) – Jointly with AIS
- Web site – advice, guidance, including checklists and supplier questionnaires/declarations (members only)
- Engaged a consultant to provide support to members
In addition to working closely with the TTF, the BFM has also forged partnerships and negotiated discounted rates for member companies with PEFC and the Soil Association. We are also in close liaison with the Head of Sustainability at the BRC.
For further information contact us.