GTF in Shanghai in 2015

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1 $100,000 from ITTO meeting primes EUTR data platform The ETTF-proposed central information platform to assist companies with their EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) due diligence has secured two-thirds of its funding and is now set to start development. The $100,000, of the required $150,000, was pledged by Netherlands and Japanese donors André de Boer at the International Tropical Timber Organisation s (ITTO) Council meeting in Yokohama in November, following a presentation on the project by ETTF Secretary General André de Boer. This generous support has been confirmed and [development] activity will commence early 2015, said ITTO Assistant Director Steve Johnson We will also engage with the ITTO Trade Advisory Group (TAG) to ensure input on relevant ITTO activities. Mr de Boer told the meeting that the online platform would constantly update EU 'operators' on supplier country laws which timber must comply with under the EUTR. And he welcomed the funding announcement as good news for the European industry and EUTR implementation. He was also confident of securing the rest. We can now move to implementation, he said. And I ve also proposed to the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition to support what would be effectively a one-stop shop for EUTRapplicable producer country legislation and documentation. I m optimistic of securing a further $25-30,000 and seeking suggestions on raising the remainder. Under the EUTR, timber must be legal under the laws of the country of origin. But currently companies are on their own when it comes to researching this legislation. A central data resource would not diminish individual due diligence responsibilities, but make their task more straightforward and raise standards, said Mr de Boer. Ultimately if all companies, and EUTR Competent Authorities (CAs), referred to the same current information it would also ensure more uniform The website will feature latest EUTR-applicable producer country forestry and timber sector legislation implementation of the Regulation and enhance its effectiveness against illegal timber. Mr Johnson said the platform concept sat well with the ITTO policy as the TAG had a similar concept for a tropical country forest sector and timber trade information facility. Other ETTF members backed the database at a discussion meeting in the summer. It should also help harmonize criteria set by CAs for due diligence processes, said GD Holz CEO Thomas Goebel. And input could come from NGOs, as well as CAs, importers, federations and producer country authorities. Contents 02 Belgians focus on Brazilian legality 03 Dutch urged to widen tropical hardwood options 04 ETTF members voice hopes and expectations for EUTR Review 05 Cameroon SMEs talk EUTR and FLEGT with EU trade 06 Europe should promote tropical positives, says ATIBT 07 UK Wood Awards for timber building bigger, better and bolder 08 Trade must urge sustainable procurement for other materials, says Danish Federation s Jakob Rygg Klaumann 09 Viewpoints from Davyth Stewart of Interpol, David Hopkins of the UK Wood for Good campaign and new Chairman of the Wood Toolbox, and Julia Young of WWF 11 Leading timber operators across Europe relay their EUTR experiences over the last two years, and explain how they want to see the Regulation and the FLEGT programme develop for the benefit of the forest, environment and timber trade GTF in Shanghai in 2015 The Global Timber Forum (GTF), the new ETTF-supported international communications and networking platform for wood industry associations worldwide, is holding a summit meeting in Shanghai, China, from June 9 to Its interactive website is also close to launch. The GTF s goal is to provide a channel, through its online presence and events, for the global timber sector, including ETTF members, to share news, views and best practice. Its role will also be to help develop the market for wood, and, working with other bodies, to strengthen the industry s voice to key decision makers in government, industry, NGOs and the wider market. Key areas of focus are making the most of the forest resource; meeting market legality requirements; promoting timber and wood products; and realising new market opportunities for wood, especially in green building. The GTF 2013 launch summit, co-convened by the ETTF at the Rome HQ of the UNFAO, attracted over 80 delegates from 40 timber organisations globally. The Shanghai event is expected to attract up to 120 association representatives from around the world to discuss and confer on key issues. The GTF Website now in final development, will be an open access information exchange and database. A Forum section will host live discussions on latest industry developments and concerns, with site users able to post comment and raise key questions. The core theme of news coverage, which will also include feedback facilities, will be timber s key strategic role in achieving a global green, low carbon future. The site will also include a global industry contact database. For more The ETTF Newsletter is produced with funding from the UK Department for International Development 01

2 Bart De Turck Brazilian legality a focus for Belgian traders The November BFHI event was organized with environmentalist trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, and addressed by Olivier Demaret of Belgium s EUTR Competent Authority, the SPF. There were also presentations from auditing body and EUTR Monitoring Organisation NEPCon, Ramiro Azambuja, director of Brazil s processed timber industry association ABIMCI, and Geraldo Bento, chairman of the country s forest sector national forum, FNBF. We had 30 delegates representing most Belgian tropical hardwood traders, said BFHI General Secretary Bart De Turck. The event was planned [to address broader EUTR issues], but because of latest developments we concentrated on Brazil. It was useful for confirming that legality of shipments can only be proven in the ways our importers currently use; by ensuring they have exactly the right documents, verified in exactly the right way. TRAFFIC said the only course beyond this was to inspect the source in person, which our importers or their representatives also do. NEPCon explained how importers could mandate them as an MO to undertake supplier inspections and chain of custody checks. Mr de Turck highlighted that this would incur additional cost for companies, although this could be shared with other traders sourcing from the same suppliers. Earlier this year the Greenpeace report The Amazon s Silent Crisis alleged high levels of illegality in the Brazilian timber sector, notably Parà. Following its claims, Saint Gobain Building Distribution in the UK withdrew ipe from sale at subsidiaries Jewson and International Timber. Other UK importers also put ipe on hold and the NGOs urged other national CAs to investigate Brazilian imports. At the time of going to press, Mr Demaret said investigations by SPF and customs into the six containers of ipe imported into Belgium were ongoing. They were currently awaiting clarity on legality documentation from Brazil and Belgian operator importers. Extend EUTR to more secondary wood products, NGO report urges As the first Statutory Review of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) gets underway (p4), a new report highlights how much material is bypassing the anti-illegal timber measure in the form of exempted secondary wood products. The study was drafted by independent consultancy Probos, and commissioned by WWF Netherlands. It assesses key secondary timber products import flows to the EU in general and the Netherlands in particular, with a focus on products beyond the EUTR s scope. Origins of many secondary products are unclear As authorities continue to hold Rotterdam-transiting containers of ipe for further investigation under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), the Belgian Timber Importers Federation (BFHI) organized a special workshop on Brazilian timber legality. Ipe in the forest Main conclusions are: Secondary wood products average share of EU-28 timber imports by value from was 49.9%. Top importers are UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy. Of the extra-eu secondary wood product import total, 47% was EUTR exempt. Imports of these secondary products into the Netherlands were further studied by country of origin, timber species, major importers and sustainability certification. Items included other seats with wooden frames (upholstered and not), books, paper and paperboard packaging, charcoal, and guitars. The report also highlighted that most EUTR-exempt secondary timber imports came from countries without bans on illegal timber import or trade. This underlines the risk that EU secondary timber product imports contain illegal timber, said WWF Netherlands. So, as part of its Review, we are calling on the EU to enlarge the scope of the EUTR to all timber products. For more: More Danish merchants on course for certification XL BYG Group is the latest to follow a growing trend among Danish timber and building merchants to opt for environmental timber chain of custody certification a move backed by their ETTFmember industry federation Danske Byggecentre. The company launched their joint PEFC and FSC multi-site certification programme earlier this year and passed the audit in October. Managing Director Jes Gravesen said it was a demanding process. Stores had to adapt to a broad range of new procedures, and staff underwent training in handling and selling certified wood, he said. But it s the right way to go to meet the expectations of increasingly environmentally-minded customers. Danske Byggecentre Chief Executive Palle Thomsen said the growing timber market trend to certification had been reinforced by the Danish government s recent decision to specify sustainable material only. We expect the government's lead to result in more big businesses implementing similar procurement guidelines, he said. This will obviously give merchants that go through the certification process a leg up. He added that Danske Byggecentre is itself working to promote sustainability in construction, liaising with certification bodies like PEFC Denmark to bridge the gap between merchants and requirements for sustainability. An XL BYG branch Cautious Austrian outlook Palle Thomsen An Austrian Timber and Woodworking Federation survey shows its members expecting continuing challenging market conditions. Companies reported a good first quarter, but the rest of 2014 as stagnant, notably in veneers, lumber, and construction timber, with tight prices, rising costs and bad debt. With Austria's low public spending hitting demand, businesses say maintaining present sales levels in 2015 would be seen as a success. 02

3 Over-specification curbs sustainable wood sales Use of verified sustainable timber could be limited by specifiers being too restrictive in choice of species and certification scheme. This was the concluson of a seminar on sustainble timber in government projects organised by the Netherlands Green Deal initiative. An alliance of industry, end users, retailers, NGOs and government, including Tropenbos and the Royal Netherlands Timber Trade Association (NTTA), the latter aims to make sustainable certified timber the Netherlands market norm. The seminar, under the title Stimulating Sustainable Forestry, took place in Tiel at the Tropical hardwood lock gates from NTTA-member Wijma Rivierenland Water Board (Waterschap). Delegates heard that certified sustainable timber has risen from 58% to 86% of NTTA members total imports since However, in hardwood certified material s share is only 55%, so considerable efforts were needed to boost sales, particularly in Netherland s key marine products sector, said speakers. One route to market growth, it was suggested, was to give contractors greater specification freedom. The Netherlands government s Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC) accepts FSC, PEFC and Malaysian MTCS certification as proof of sustainability. According to Annemieke Visser Winterink of the Probos forestry foundation, specifiers should therefore opt for material verified under any of these schemes, and focus on technical capabilities rather than specific species. Hennie Roorda of Rivierenland Water Board addresses the meeting By adhering to government certification criteria and specifying physical mechanical properties rather than species, you give contractors freedom of choice, she said. That not only potentially increases the quality and cost effectiveness of the project, but helps broaden use of wood from sustainably managed forests." René Boot of Tropenbos agreed. "Focusing on a single type of wood also reduces the economic value of the forest, and consequently resources available for sustainable forest management," he said. For more Database highlights lesser-known tropicals An online specification database, with a focus on lesser-known timber species (LKTS), is one of the first market outcomes of the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition s (STTC) programme to revive and develop the European tropical sector. Launched in 2013, backed by the ETTF, the STTC s goal is to highlight that use of sustainable tropical timber is vital to providing a commercial incentive for forest maintenance. It comprises an EU-wide alliance of public and private sector backers and has working groups for communication, developing business contacts, legality and sustainability and technical issues. The latter group initiated the new wood database (www.houtdatabase.nl). It was developed by the Netherlands Timber Trade Association (NTTA) and forestry sustainability Norway builds bridges to market growth Norway has announced a programme to boost timber bridge construction. agency Probos, with Dutch government support. It matches timber species to application, providing data on mechanical properties, aesthetics, processing, applications and availability. Initially in Dutch, it is now being translated into English. LKTS are central to the database, as the STTC maintains that wider awareness and knowledge of these can increase European specifier interest in tropical timber and broaden its application. Critically, they can also make sustainable forest management more commercially viable. With common species at risk of depletion, using LKTS could add value to forest areas and disincentivise clearance for other uses, said the STTC. It added that its technical issues group is now also looking at construction façade use of LKTS. Expo helps make MADE Pavilion designs for the Milan Expo will be on show at the MADE construction fair in the city, which is owned and managed by wood and furniture federation, FederlegnoArredo, parent association of ETTF member Fedecomlegno. The structures for the May to October Expo, which is expected to attract 30 million visitors, will be unveiled at MADE from March 18-21, complementing its timberbuilding, interiors and fittings exhibits. MADE has switched from annual to biennial, and show chief executive Giovanni De Ponti said coinciding with Expo made for an auspicious launch for its new format. Our focus is opportunities for Italian and international business audiences looking for contacts on a worldwide scale, he said. With EXPO 2015 on the horizon, Milan s marketing communications are heading for a new international dimension. In 2013 MADE attracted 211,000 visitors, including 36,000 from abroad. Currently 10% of Norwegian bridges are built in wood, but Otto Kleppe, Director at the Public Roads Administration, said there was strong political will to increase that significantly. We are directing state funds to research and export growth, he said. The development programme, he added, includes engineered wood specialist Moelven and the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology. Norway currently builds around half a dozen large timber road bridges annually. The longest is 70 metres but twice that is feasible, said Mr Kleppe. Timber is a major Norwegian resource so we are keen to show we are prepared to invest in its use in technically demanding applications. Norway has recently averaged 400 million annually on bridge building, but the new finance will fund an additional projects. Timber-based building is a key MADE focus 03

4 EUTR and FLEGT Reviews will consult widely The European Commission s 2015 Reviews of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT AP) will be as wide-ranging and consultative as possible. This is the message from Bernard Crabbé of the EC Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO). The Commission wants a balanced mix of stakeholders consulted, including governments, private sector and civil society, he said. Particular attention will be paid to involving business representatives, in partner countries and the EU. FLEGT consultation at an Indonesian mill Consultants appointed for the EUTR Statutory Review have now started collating implementation and enforcement data. Online stakeholder consultation will also take place early in 2015, said Mr Crabbé. And EU member states will additionally submit EUTR biennial reports in April. The Commission will subsequently submit its EUTR report to the EU Council and Parliament by December It will review the functioning and effectiveness of the Regulation and will be made publically available, said Mr Crabbé, adding that any Regulation reforms required will follow in The review of the wider FLEGT AP, including the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) initiative to help producer countries implement forestry and timber legality assurance systems, began with a November meeting between consultants and the EC Steering Committee. Wider consultation starts February, including surveys of private sector and civil society FLEGT engagement in member states and VPA A Ghana FLEGT VPA stakeholder meeting signatory countries, bilateral meetings and a multi stakeholder workshop during Brussels FLEGT Week from March. A web-based tool will allow further stakeholder input. The FLEGT review team will also visit VPA signatory and other producer countries, China and member states. The process completes next October. For review updates: and ETTF urges uniform EUTR enforcement and FLEGT VPA progress The ETTF sees scope for the Reviews of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT AP) to drive improvement in implementation, operation and greater clarity in both. André de Boer Anand Punja Bart De Turck The ETTF itself is currently talking with other bodies, including the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEIBois) and Association Technique des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) to establish joint positions to put to review panels. Among our points is the need for more guidance on the scope of EUTR applicable producer country timber and forestry legislation, said Secretary General André de Boer. Ensuring more equal enforcement across member states is also essential. The latter view was echoed by Anand Punja, Head of Sustainability at the UK Timber Trade Federation (TTF). It is quality of enforcement that is of interest as there s a perception it is higher in parts of Europe than others, he said. This puts companies in certain countries at a competitive disadvantage. The TTF, he added, has suggested key performance indicators for EUTR enforcing Competent Authorities (CAs) and was reassured that many aspects of these have been picked up. Mr de Boer said the EUTR Review should also address the role certification could play in operator importers due diligence illegality risk assessment and mitigation. There s a view that certification schemes which fully address its proof of legality criteria should get a semi-green lane through the EUTR, he said. Mr Punja agreed EUTR should find an inclusive way to build on the excellent work certification has done and place greater value on it. ETTF members also want the EUTR exemption of secondary wood products, such as certain types of furniture, to be readdressed. Bart De Turck, General Secretary of the Belgian Timber Importers Federation (BFHI), maintained that current criteria are not sufficiently risk-based. Clearly composite products with long supply chains from high risk countries, like Chinese furniture, should be a key focus. The role of Monitoring Organisations (MOs) was another issue raised at a recent meeting of the EUTR review group of Forest Based Industries, a pan sector body formed to advise on EU wood sector policy. MOs are authorised to operate EUTR due diligence systems on behalf of client companies, but so Hardwood conference broadens scope The ETTF will jointly host the 2015 International Hardwood Conference in Copenhagen on September 17 with the European Sawmillers Organisation (EOS). Consequently it will broaden to encompass non-european species, including tropical, as well as European hardwoods. far only four have been appointed. On the Review of the FLEGT AP and its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) programme with supplier countries, ETTF members said they wanted more rapid progress toward VPA signatories supplying legally assured FLEGT licensed timber, which will be exempt from further EUTR due diligence. Several suggested more support was needed in producer countries, plus more analysis of the potential EU market value of FLEGTlicensed timber to incentivise the process. We also need to identify if there are common [issues slowing progress on VPAs], said Mr Punja. Mr de Boer finally cautioned EUTR reviewers that if there was any pressure to raise its bar from legality to sustainability, the industry will oppose it. Eco impact guide launch UK timber promotion campaign Wood for Good has launched a Users Guide for its online lifecycle assessment (LCA) database. It shows how to use the database to estimate timber products environmental impacts, including global warming potential and water footprint. 04

5 Cameroon SMES and European trade urge EUTR cooperation In a groundbreaking event in Brussels, Cameroonian timber sector small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) met EU industry representatives to discuss challenges and opportunities represented by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), and the country s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA). Cameroon SMEs feel overwhelmed by EUTR data requests Around 25 Cameroonian delegates took part in the trip, which included site tours, a workshop and meetings with timber businesses, the Belgian Competent Authority, and EU and FLEGT Facility representatives. The host was NEPCon, the Danish-based international environmental consultancy and EUTR Monitoring Organisation (MO). The rationale of the event, it said, was that EUTR requirements impose complex new burdens on suppliers, which SMEs can find especially problematic. The effects are throughout the supply chain and this was an opportunity for suppliers and importers to discuss how to meet challenges together, it said. Global Timber Forum s (GTF) Rachel Butler gave an overview of the EUTR s new market requirements, stressing that the onus for EUTR due diligence was on the EU operator buyer, not the supplier. The GTF s new networking and communications website, she added would facilitate international best practice exchange on these issues (see p1). Martin Mbongo of the Cameroon Forestry Ministry also described its policy for increasing EUTR communications between supplier SMEs, EU customers and Competent Authorities. A specific discussion point was the EUTR obligation on EU operators to demand documentary evidence of legality and the fact that they are currently doing this individually.this is leading to suppliers being asked for all kinds of information and feeling overwhelmed by a tsunami of requests, said ETTF Secretary General André de Boer, who also attended. The need to streamline information flow is obvious, which has led the ETTF to propose its one-stop online EUTR legality information database (see p1). Cameroon delegates also said they aim to complete the VPA process in 2016, but stressed their need for more support in establishing FLEGT VPA legality assurance systems, said Belgium Timber Importers Federation General Secretary Bart De Turck. NEPCon said they hoped the Brussels meeting would trigger ongoing EUTR communications with Cameroonian SMEs. German customs plywood misclassification hits trade, says GD Holz German timber trade federation GD Holz is urging customs authorities to revise their current approach to Chinese plywood classification, which is leading to imposition of higher duty rates. Delegates at the Brussels event Spanish take tropical timber support online Efforts to boost the tropical timber sector will form a central focus of the Spanish Timber Trade Federation s (AEIM) online communications relaunch. Earlier this year, AEIM became a supporter of the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC), the international public and private sector programme launched by Dutchgovernment agency IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative to revive and develop Europe s tropical market. Subsequently at the Madrid Sustainable Construction Show, it featured STTC branding on its stand and distributed 1500 copies of its Tropical Timber; Why Not? leaflet in Spanish. We also organised an architects seminar on timber as sustainable construction material, said Alberto Romero (right) at the Sustainable Construction Show, where AEIM distributed its tropical leaflet AEIM General Secretary Alberto Romero. At this event, he added, discussions additionally took place with forestry consultancy Probos, sowing the seeds for developing AEIM s STTC support as an integral element of its new online programme. Internet communications, especially via tablets, laptops and smartphones, are key for reaching our core target for this campaign; the architects and designers, said Mr Romero. Our existing website already gets 1,000 hits a month, and on has 2,321 followers, including many specifiers. In 2015, he added, AEIM expects these numbers to grow with its website rebuild, as will Spanish exposure to the STTC message, which will be further embedded into its online activity as part of the process. The STTC logo and news will feature prominently on the new site, and a data section will have full specification information on 45 tropical species, including application pictures and details of certification, availability and origin. We ll also have information on lesser known species which could complement those under high demand pressure, like Ipé, teak and iroko, said Mr Romero. The problem centres on German customs classifying any product comprising layers of veneer bonded together in a parallel way as similar laminated wood. This subjects it to 10% duty, against plywood s 7%. GD Holz pointed out that Chinese plywood has areas of parallel bonded material because it is a low tech product, aimed at such applications as concrete formwork. As a result, it often includes manual veneer jointing and defect filling, leading to accidental parallel stratification. GD Holz has persuaded customs to sample plywood only in central areas, where veneer overlaps are less common. But the authorities still insist that, even if boards have these defects randomly, they must be subject to the higher duty. By our calculation, since 2012 this additional 3% has cost our members 900,000, said GD Holz CEO Thomas Goebel. Taking into account additional sample costs and storage, this could rise to 1.3m. Unable to pass the increase on for such a low margin product, some importers plywood turnover has fallen 30%. GD Holz has now taken the matter to the Chinese plywood manufacture includes manual jointing Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. The only other route is court, or companies transferring to alternative European ports, said Mr Goebel. 05

6 Telling the good tropical news The industry needs to communicate positive news about tropical timber to underpin market demand. The Forum audience This was the call from the International Forum of the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) in Amsterdam in November, which was supported by the ETTF. The theme of the event, which was also sponsored by the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition, ITTO, UNFAO and EFI FLEGT facility, was Strengthening Trust in Tropical Timber. ATIBT Director Ralph Ridder told the 150-strong audience that tropical timber's global market position was under threat. Defending it meant tackling misinformation, notably its automatic association with rainforest destruction. Its unique technical capabilities and inherent value in providing commercial incentive for forest maintenance also needed to be more widely highlighted. "We must communicate the positive stories better to customers, specifiers and the media, he said. The trade must highlight tropical timber s unique properties The STTC said its strategy was to influence public and corporate procurement in favour of tropical timber through market education Persisting fear of tropical timber is the biggest enemy, not just of the trade, but of the forest, said Ted van der Put, Programme Director at IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Netherlands body coordinating the Coalition. If it undermines demand for timber, forest conversion will accelerate. On ATIBT s own strategies, Mr Ridder said it aimed to expand membership, increase cross-sector collaboration and step up market education. Under new communications head Tullia Baldassarri, it has already relaunched its website and newsletter and started a tropical timber consumer survey. The ATIBT also announced its project to create a timber DNA database for its central African producer members key species, in association with DNA-tracking specialists Double Helix, and Germany s Thünen Institute. Using genetics to determine legality will support long-term access to markets with increasingly strict legality and other procurement requirements, like the US and Europe, said Mr Ridder, adding that the project is actively seeking donors. SMEs need FLEGT and EUTR support and engagement The ATIBT Forum (above) also addressed tropical sector issues surrounding implementation of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement programme African SME market requirement support gathers momentum An ETTF-supporrted, Global Timber Forum (GTF) co-funded initiative to help central African small to medium-sized timber enterprises (SMEs) cope with tough new market legality requirements is gaining political support. The project, Supporting and Enabling the Central Africa Timber Trade Sector, started in 2013 by identifying the key challenges posed to SMEs by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement programme. Also supported by the Economic Community of Central Germain Yene African States (ECCAS), the focus is on Cameroon, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, with consultations including SME trade bodies, forestry administration and VPA participant representatives. The initial outcomes were country and regional reports presented at the meeting of the ECCAS regional FLEGT unit in Douala, Cameroon, last April, where a communiqué on constraints facing SMEs and potential solutions was drafted. In October, the communiqué s conclusions were discussed at the ECCAS inter-ministerial conference in Kinshasa on the Fund for the Green Economy and Structural Transformation of the System of Economy of natural resources in Central Africa. Two draft political decisions were approved by ministers; one on ECCAS SME promotion and one covering SMEs market access and governance, said project facilitator Germain Yene. These were further validated by the ECCAS council of ministers meeting in Ndjamena, Tchad and put forward for consideration at the next heads of states conference. Consultant Caroline Duhesme said her EUTR Congo Brazzaville impact study identified variation in due diligence approaches from European companies as a problem. Due to continuing lack of understanding [of the Regulation] in the EU trade, suppliers face a variety of requests for information, and details that aren t required, she said. Other speakers addressed the slow progress of the FLEGT VPA programme Bérénice Castadot and the Unibois team to establish legality assurance systems in supplier countries, with no signatory yet authorised to issue FLEGT licences which would allow their timber access to the EU without further EUTR due diligence. Several stressed the need for small to medium sized suppliers to be more engaged with FLEGT. ATIBT echoed this view and FLEGT specialist Bérénice Castadot highlighted its work with the UNIBOIS SME alliance in Congo Brazzaville. This involves education on technical aspects and developing tools, she said. Ultimately our aim is to extend it elsewhere. While acknowledging the time it was taking signatory countries to reach FLEGT licensing stage, Chris Beeko of the Ghana Forestry Commission said it was important to stress what the initiative has achieved so far in forestry practice improvement, increased transparency and stakeholder engagement. Presidential succession at HTA The Hellenic Timber Association (HTA) has elected its new board of directors and agreed its presidential succession. The new board comprises Elias Stergiou, Vice President, Vicky Kaltsidou, Secretary General, Kostas Xenos, Treasurer, with other members comprising Alexandra Gerardi, Antonis Stasinopoulos, Xaris Rouhatas and Michalis Xalkiadakis. Yannis Albanis, who has been President of the HTA since 2005, was reelected to the post, but will be succeeded by Vice President Christos Papanastasiou at the year end. Yannis Albanis, Christos Papanastasiou, Kostas Xenos 06

7 Wood Awards reflect UK wood construction renaissance The number and range of entries for this year s UK Wood Awards competition highlighted that timber construction is now a key component of the country s built environment. Ditchling Museum Alfriston School Award runner-up, WWF UK headquarters by Hopkins Architects Hat Tree This was the conclusion of a report presented at the national conference of Italian Wood Associations in October at Godega di Sant Urbano, which was organised by Federlegno Arredo, parent trade body of ETTF member Fedecomlegno. The Gardino Consulting study, the 200-strong conference audience heard, found that companies across the sector in Triveneto, notably wood packaging makers, had suffered less in the recession than competitors elsewhere in Italy. The reason was continuing commitment to investment, said Fedecomlegno Chief Executive Domenico Corradetti. Machinery used is more modern, especially in sawmills and packaging plants, That was the view of architect Alison Brooks, addressing the Awards presentations in London in November. This, in turn, underlines how timber engineering has advanced in the UK and the extent to which architects and designers understanding of the carbon and wider environmental benefits of using wood has grown, she said. In total there were 300 entries across the building and furniture categories of the event, backers of which include AHEC, the UK Timber Trade Federation and Wood for Good. The Arnold Laver Gold Award went to the Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft, a restoration/construction project by Adam Richards Architects featuring CLT and English Oak. The Commercial and Public Access Award went to The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London, designed by McCurdy & Co in English and European Oak, redwood and spruce. House No. 7 in Scotland by Denizen Works, using Scottish spruce glulam, larch and pitch pine, won the Private Award, and Alfriston School Swimming Pool in Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architect, with its glulam and cross laminated timber roof, the Structural Award. The Studio in Oxford by James Wyman Architects, featuring English sweet chestnut, took the Small Project Award. One of two Special Awards went to drmm Architects for Endless Stair, an exhibition project using American tulipwood CLT structurally. The Bespoke Furniture Award was won by Makers Eye for European oak furniture at St. Hugh s College, Oxford, while the Production Furniture category went to Fowler & Co for its European birch Hat Tree. Technology supports north Italian timber A willingness to invest has seen companies across the timber sector of northeast Italian region of Triveneto come strongly through the downturn. and companies also continued to recruit. The roofing and larger timber construction sector in the region saw sales decline 20-25%, but this was also less than contraction in the rest of Italy. The Gardino report also forecast improvement across timber and timberusing sectors in the region in President Roberto Snaidero said Federlegno Arredo was now focused on spreading growth across the Italian industry. There are positive indicators from the renovation sector and in terms of work to improve building energy efficiency, he said. A report was also presented on Italy s pallet recycling and reuse sector, which processes 25 million units annually. The Studio FSC OCP data protection challenge VDP, the German paper industry association, says companies testing the FSC s Online Claims Platform (OCP) may risk infringing German data protection law. The conclusion follows a review by the data protection authority of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which apparently found issues with the OCP s provisional terms and conditions. As a result, VDP said in a November press release that the OCP should not be operated on its current terms and conditions and users should not enter real data. The VDP s latest criticism comes after FSC International responded to wider timber and paper trade concerns over the OCP s operation by allowing participation by certified companies to remain voluntary. It had previously envisaged making it mandatory and rolling out globally in The concept for the online database was to enable continuous monitoring of all FSCcertified timber through the supply chain. In response to the VDP, FSC International said a verdict on whether the OCP s terms and conditions infringed German law would only be made by the authorities once FSC presented the final version for review after the consultation process has been completed. The latter is expected to start shortly, tying in with the FSC s chain-ofcustody standard revision consultation. New UK trade body by Q2 Plans for the UK Timber Trade (TTF) and British Woodworking Federations to form a joint company headed by one chief executive should be complete by summer. TTF chief executive David Lennan said the Federation boards would vote on the proposal in June. The move would effectively create a new trade body of over 1000 members. MO approvals soon Earlier EC predictions that four more EUTR Monitoring Organisation applications were likely to be approved in 2014, did not come to fruition. But a spokesperson said approvals were expected in the first quarter of

8 Interview Animated ambition Denmark's wood promotion animations have been a global internet hit And Danish construction is in recovery. Architect Eentileen Photo: Nikolaj Callisen Friis The Danish timber sector is emerging from the downturn determined to build on its successful promotional strategy and capitalize on government sustainability commitments, Danish Timber Trade Federation Director Jakob Rygg Klaumann tells the ETTF Newsletter. What is the state of the Danish economy and timber industry? The sector has been hit quite hard during three and a half years of economic stagnation, with loss of turnover and jobs. But rising Danish consumer and business confidence is stimulating private consumption and investment, and the economy is now expected to experience modestly positive growth. Who are your industry's key customers? Construction and woodworking sectors are main markets and both show signs of improvement. However, woodworking is very export oriented and some traditional markets are still depressed. Does certified timber have significant profile in the Danish market? Yes, more of our members are getting chain of custody (CoC) certified under PEFC or FSC or both, and recently big retailers have done the same. In June this market move was reinforced when government changed its procurement policy in favour of sustainable timber only. How has your membership coped with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR)? They were well prepared, having worked towards ensuring supply chain legality and sustainability for many years. But the EUTR also introduced new system requirements and terminologies that posed challenges. To simplify the process we adopted the ETTF due diligence system (DDS) to form the backbone of members EUTR strategy. We introduced support in species recognition, including DNA testing and we re also now backing ETTF proposals for a central website collating current information on EUTR-applicable producer country timber legislation (see p1). Has the Danish EUTR Competent Authority (CA) enforced the EUTR strictly? Denmark was one of the first EU states to appoint a CA and put EUTR implementing legislation in place. It has performed checks on our biggest importers, companies accounting for % of import value, and taken a very sensible route. There have been no prosecutions yet, but it has engaged in dialogue with the sector and made itself visible. It has also announced a step up in investigations in 2015, including physical product checks. What s your view on reported variation in EUTR implementation in different states? Lack of uniformity on enforcement is a basic concern. And the EU Commission s EUTR Scoreboard published earlier this year did little to relieve that concern. Having said that, the Danish CA is now working closely with UK and Nordic counterparts, sharing practical and technical experience, so some enforcement harmonization is taking place. What s the latest on your involvement with the Danish Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, assessing carbon storage of harvested wood products (HWP)? The Panel s report is due soon, but it may prove difficult for us to communicate the conclusions as the IPCC accounting rules for HWP don t favour imported wood use. So Danish Forest owners will have a clearer message to promote: Use Danish Timber for the benefit of Denmark s CO2 account. And, while imports dominate market share, Danish HWP sales are growing. As the importers association, the Danish TTF will have to communicate something more generic from the panel s conclusions, like Tackle Climate Change: Use Wood. Your Federation has pressed the Danish government to apply equally strict environmental procurement criteria to other materials. What has been the outcome? Recently it did unveil a new strategy for Danish Construction highlighting five key focus areas, one of which is promoting use of more sustainable materials. And in that strategy Jakob Rygg Klaumann timber products are highlighted as an exemplar of sustainability, so things are moving in our direction. But we still need to promote use of timber as a solution to specific policy targets, and highlight that obvious solutions are sometimes solutions you don t see. What s been the impact of the Danish Wood Initiative s (Træ Er Miljø) popular timber promotion animations? We ve had great feedback and still get a lot of positive attention from across the timber supply chain worldwide. The format is unique, the message easy to understand and they re so easy to spread. So far the three films have been viewed over 125,000 times online and they re now available in five language versions. We have no current plans for a fourth, but you should never say never! What other promotions or lobbying initiatives to boost the Danish timber sector are planned? Træ Er Miljø is working on an entirely new platform to communicate to the public arena and will launch a new website in As a federation, we will also lobby for increased use of wood in construction, and specifically we will use the new government construction sector strategy as a route to target and influence politicians. In other Nordic countries there's firm political will to promote timber use via dedicated national programmes. Of course their forest and wood working industries have greater weight in their national economies, but we re still inspired by their achievements. So are you optimistic for the future of the timber sector in Denmark and globally? Yes, definitely, as it is the only industry based on a truly sustainable material. It s down to us to capitalize on its inherent properties. 08

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