Kingfisher: survey across Europe shows 85 per cent support for better laws that ensure the legality of wood products on the market

LONDON, 2015-9-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Kingfisher plc, in conjunction with over 60 other timber-related business and seven trade federations, has signed an industry statement to secure measures to make the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) fully effective across the EU. Timber is an essential raw material for our business, used in up to 40% of the products we sell. All of our responsibly sourced timber is independently audited by recognised certification schemes, like FSC and PEFC. We’ve reached 92% responsibly sourced timber in the products we sell and we’re working towards 100%. WWF’s press release is below, along with a link to the Industry Statement on the right hand side of this page.

Consumers and industry want tighter EU rules to tackle illegal timber

A survey of consumers across Europe shows high support (85 per cent) for better laws that ensure the legality of wood products on the market. Major timber-related businesses in Europe, from producers to retailers, have also signed a new statement to the European Commission calling for the EU to tighten the current rules on illegal timber use.

The EU Timber Regulation, or EUTR, is designed to keep illegally sourced timber out of the marketplace, and is under review by the European Commission in Brussels.

A poll commissioned by WWF in nine countries (UK, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Romania) showed that three quarters of the respondents did not know products made from illegal timber could still be bought in the EU. 85 per cent said it was important to them that measures be put in place to make sure people couldn’t buy products made from illegal wood.

A similarly high number (82 per cent) wanted the EU to implement the law more consistently across EU nations, and 78 per cent thought the laws should cover all wood-based products. Currently, the EUTR does not include items such as chairs, toys, books, musical instruments, charcoal, wine racks, clothes pegs, and many more.

In a statement issued to the European Commission, 63 timber-related companies and seven trade federations say that not only does illegal logging ‘pose a significant threat to global forest resources, it also contributes to deforestation, causes loss of biodiversity and erodes the rule of law’. The signatories want sufficient resources made available to enforce the regulation consistently across the EU and a coherent approach towards its interpretation.

WWF has been working to raise awareness of the further measures needed to make the EUTR fully effective, and welcomes the industry support at a time when the legislation could be improved.

Anke Schulmeister, senior forest policy officer at WWF’s European Policy Office, said “We are pleased to see this business and public support for a stronger regulation, and the drive for the law to include all products that could be made using illegal timber. Currently less than half (by value) of the products entering the EU are covered by the EUTR.”

“Deforestation and habitat destruction continues, and illegal timber can end up in our books, toys and chairs. We must act now, during this review of the laws, to ensure we protect our forests.”

Ends

Kingfisher and the Timber Retail Coalition

Kingfisher, IKEA, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour formed the Timber Retail Coalition (TRC) in support of measures to curb illegally harvested timber and to ensure that EU regulations are effective and workable. TRC members believe that customers of timber and timber products want to know that the wood they buy is legal, responsibly sourced and sustainable.  Its members have come together to raise awareness of the need for clear and workable practices to be in place so that customers can be confident this is the case.  These practices should be based on a combination of voluntary and statutory arrangements.

The TRC will campaign at all levels of government in the EU to ensure that regulation is both effective and workable.  It will also engage with other companies which use timber and with relevant Non-Governmental Organisations. TRC members have worked together in support of the introduction of European Union-wide regulation based on market-proven ‘Due Diligence’ mechanisms, with a robust compliance and enforcement regime in place, to ensure minimum ethical standards for all timber and wood products sold in the EU.

Although the TRC companies already implement extensive voluntary measures, appropriate legislation will help to create a more level playing field in the supply chain and marketplace.

SOURCE:  Kingfisher plc