UPDATE : ITTO Tropical timber market report: certification schemes lay out EUDR compliance support


Given the huge dependence on FSC and PEFC by suppliers into and out of the EU and for internal EU trade for provision of data on provenance and forestry practices, the extent to which these systems can adapt, or not, to the new requirements of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) will have a strong bearing on access to the EU market and on the continuing global competitiveness of European wood product manufacturers and traders in the future.





FSC webinars in recent weeks have detailed its guidance and support to help certified companies meet EUDR obligations. PEFC is also progressing alignment of its system and standards with the EUDR to aid PEFC- certified businesses’ compliance.

The FSC webinars, recordings or which are available on its website, covered its FSC EUDR Aligned Standard which will be launched in June this year as an added option for all FSC certified companies. Within this, its EUDR Regulatory Module will provide added components on avoiding implication in deforestation and forest degradation and take companies through EUDR alignment of due diligence processes and reports.

FSC has also been explaining how its new “FSC Blockchain” platform will work. This is designed to enable certified companies to meet the EUDR obligation for geolocation coordinates identifying the origin of timber and wood products. This obligation is imposed directly on companies that first place regulated products on the EU market, that export these products from the EU market, and companies which are not SMEs trading inside the EU.

The new FSC platform aims to enable businesses to transmit product origin and harvest date data throughout the supply chain. Confidentiality of sourcing information is key, says the FSC, and only those who upload data to the system will be able to say who can access it. EU Competent Authorities are also being kept informed on how it will operate and help generate due diligence statements for submission to the EU.

Ahead of the EU benchmarking supplier countries under the EUDR as low, standard or high risk of commodity production causing deforestation and forest degradation, FSC is additionally revising 20 of its 60 country risk assessments, looking at risks of illegality and unsustainable practice. Its new Risk Assessment Framework will be unveiled in June, with the 20 revised national assessments available by January 2025.

The PEFC ran a webinar ‘On the path to EUDR alignment’ on 27 February delivering the latest on development of its sustainable forest management and chain of custody standards to help certified companies to satisfy the regulation. A PEFC Sustainable Forest Management Working Group has worked on ‘identifying and validating gaps between its sustainable forest management standard and EUDR requirements’. The COC standard is out for consultation until May 7th. The SFM benchmark standard is due to go out to consultation in May, for 60 days.

PEFC is also developing an EUDR-adapted due diligence system (DDS) to enable companies to implement the regulation, which will be compatible with the existing PEFC DDS in its chain of custody standard. The new system, says PEFC, will actually go further than EUDR requirements by also covering its controversial sources definition.

By implementing the PEFC EUDR Module alongside the PEFC SFM and Chain of Custody Standards, PEFC says operators will ensure they are undertaking due diligence in line with the EUDR’s requirements, including on risk assessment and definitions of controversial sources and deforestation.

The organisation is also focusing on the EUDR’s demand for timber geolocation data from forests used for timber products. “Certified organisations and PEFC members can expect guidance on how best to approach EUDR compliance data issues, including, where appropriate, suggested standardised methods for obtaining, storing, and presenting necessary data,” it states.

PEFC are looking to collaborate with commercial software providers to allow owners/managers to upload geolocation coordinates into the software company EUDR solutions. Operators will have the responsibility to upload Due Diligence statements and geolocation data to the EU Information centre where they will receive a reference number. DDS information, geolocation data and EU reference numbers will be able to be shared appropriately using commercial software company solutions. PEFC will release details of partnerships in due course.

FSC has also revised its deforestation/forest land conversion cut-off date, after which they cannot be certified to the end of 2020 to match the EUDR. PEFC has not revised its cut-off date, and is putting out its international benchmark standard to public consultation with the existing cut off in it, and is inviting comments. The FSC proviso is that forest restitution and restoration has taken place between its earlier 1994 cut-off point and the new date.

FSC and PEFC stress that their certification schemes will not give business a ‘green lane’ through the EUDR. It will be the responsibility of individual certified companies to undertake the requisite due diligence. But they claim the adaptation of their systems and standards to its requirements will go a long way in aiding and providing guidance on compliance.

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