GBM Blog

EU says no to illegal logging!

August 23, 2011 - 08:05AM
Published by Francesca de Gasparis

This blog was written by communications intern Tim Webster

The European Union (EU) has formally recognised that illegal logging is a pervasive threat to biodiversity and is taking legal action to prevent it!

Our supporters will be pleased to hear then that by 2013, the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan will come into effect. This action plan is designed to prevent the entry of illegally logged timber into EU countries.

As one of the world’s major wood consumers, with an annual import of close to 200 million cubic meters of timber, the EU has a major responsibility to ensure that its wood consumption does not lead to the illegal exploitation and destruction of forests around the world.

The behaviour of EU companies and governments purchasing wood from suppliers in Africa, Asia or South America has a significant impact on illegal logging. Through buying illegal wood (which is often cheaper than its legal counterpart), companies and consumers create profitable markets for illegal loggers and undermine the efforts of wood-exporting countries to enforce protective forest law.

The new FLEGT action plan bans the sale of illegally logged timber and requires EU importers to take steps to ensure that they are in compliance. Other traders in the EU supply chain will also need to keep records of their suppliers and customers to allow the products to be traced.

This new legislation couldn’t come sooner as there is a still a lot of work to be done within the EU. Many EU countries currently harbour significant illegal logging activities and have no standards in place to prevent the use of illegally logged timber. 

FLEGT will hopefully prove to be a successful step towards the long-term eradication of illegal logging. By protecting the forests around the world we will maintain the vital biodiversity found within them.