EU bans illegal timber

Published:  08 July, 2010

BRUSSELS: The EU parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation to ban illegal timber trade in the EU from 2012.

The regulations, which still need European Council approval before coming into effect, will close a loophole that has made it possible for European firms to import and sell timber that has been logged illegally in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

According to World Wildlife Fund, this trade is worth up to £700m a year and accounts for as much as a fifth of timber imported into the EU.

Under the new regulations, all companies importing and selling timber in the EU will be required to demonstrate that they have exercised adequate due diligence to ensure their timber has been felled legally.

Retailers including B&Q welcomed the move saying it will provide a level the playing field within the retail sector and help ensure the preservation of the world's forests.

Euan Sutherland, B&Q chief executive said: "We've been leading the industry with our responsible timber sourcing policies for many years and are able to trace the origin of our timber products right to the tree in the forest that it came from. This means our customers can be assured they are buying responsibly sourced timber and we are currently talking to them about how we can make it easier for them to understand this."

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