New traceability in the timber industry: strict or precise?


Since the recent evolution of European regulations with the European ″zero deforesta/on″ (EUDR) bill, the term "strict product traceability" has been used to summarize this new legislation being validated by the EU. Is this ″strict″ qualification for wood product traceability accurate? Is it really new for the wood industry? Does it really pose a problem? This article gives the point of view of two experts regarding traceability under certification in the timber industry and industrial traceability against the backdrop of forensic science.

Crédit : ADOBE Stock

After a reminder of the regulatory requirements from 2013 to the recent evolutions of the certification standards (FSC and PEFC chain of custody), the authors return to the basics of traceability before applying it to the wood industry. Knowing ultimately (for the consumer) the origin of a product, and having proof of it throughout its own supply chain (successive companies from the 1st link, the forest), is not at all «new» for industrial sectors that already have the obligation to apply this requirement (for example the agri-food sector, or even some companies certified FSC and/or PEFC); these traceability systems are used to combat fraud (to ensure that regulatory requirements are met).

The concepts of withdrawal and recall are new requirements for the wood sector. The authors address the notion of “registered identification” which seems to be lacking in the wood sector, while there is no technical impossibility, a situation demonstrated in other industrial sectors. As for confidentiality, here is already a “passport” solution for the product, which is also used in other industrial sectors.

Finally, the authors point out that the technologies used in a traceability system are a mean and not a result to be achieved (such as the 2D code and the Blockchain). This new regulation does provide “precise” traceability, and this future regulatory constraint will become a new selling point for wood products.

Download the article of Vincent Pelé and Jean-Luc Viruega