Guidance on EU Timber Regulation jeopardises competitiveness of the forest-based sector
On 7 February the European Commission released the long overdue EU Timber Regulation guidance. This non-legally binding document attempts to explain the provisions of the Regulation 995/2010 “laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market”.
The guidance fails to clarify the provisions related to the terms “operator” and “placing on the market” as defined in articles 2 (b) and (c) of Regulation (EU)995/2010. Instead it modifies the provisions set in the legally binding Regulation and places more burden on European industry, including the forest-based sector.
“Once again the European Commission overlooks the competitiveness of the European industry, putting it at a disadvantage vis-a-vis foreign competitors. And this in spite of the constant pledges for the need to re-industrialise Europe.” said Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, expressing the sentiment in CEPI.
In addition, by altering the definition of an “operator” three weeks before the Regulation enters into application, the European Commission creates more unclarities for the economic actors dealing with timber and timber products in Europe than it resolves. "The proposed clarifications clearly contradict previous legal interpretations of the Regulation”, adds Bernard de Galembert, CEPI Forest Director.
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Note to the Editor
EU Timber regulation guidance document:
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 520 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 1000 paper mills. Together they represent 25% of world production.
Biomass supply policy is needed to meet increasing fuelwood demand
In a newsrelease Eurostat mentioned on Thursday that ‘a possible further increase in the demand for fuelwood would be sustainable’, due to the fact that sustainable forest management ensures a growing forest in Europe. Whilst the arithmetics of Eurostat are correct, the economics of biomass markets challenge the Eurostat statement, which is why the European pulp and paper industry is calling for a biomass supply policy.
Forest biomass that is easily accessible has long been used and developed by foresters, wood, pulp and paper industries. The remaining forest resources are mostly located in very small and scattered private properties or in areas that are difficult to access, hence making the mobilisation of such biomass more difficult and less cost competitive. To gain access to such resources an ambitious biomass supply policy is required, which includes financial incentives to increase mobilisation. For the moment, it is still cheaper to import wood pallets from overseas (e.g. Canada) for energy production rather than mobilising certain categories of forest biomass in Europe.
At a moment when the ministers are discussing both the Multiannual Financial Framework and the future CAP, opportunities to design ambitious biomass supply policies in the EU are within reach.
But mobilisation is not enough. A study on ‘Wood flows in EU27’ shows that the development of energy from biomass should only be considered when applying a "cascading approach", a principle that aims at promoting the most efficient use of natural resources, while optimizing value creation, ideally first for food, then products and finally for energy. The infographic shows that the cascading factor for paper is 2.38, meaning that due to recycling and the use of waste and by-products in the pulp and paper industry, 1 m3 of wood creates products worth 2.38 m3 of wood.
This is resource efficiency at its best.
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Note to the Editor
Eurostat press release: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/5-29112012-AP/EN/5-29112012-AP-EN.PDF
Infographic – efficient use of wood http://www.cepi.org/node/12755
Full study – Wood flows in EU27 http://digibook.digi-work.com/Digibooks.aspx/Get/cepi/798/CEPIWoodFlowsinEurope2012pdf
Resource efficiency: How to make best use of our natural resources? http://www.cepi.org/node/12751Download here
EU Timber Regulation – Easy guidance from the European paper industry
Update February 2013: The final guidance document has been made public by the European Commission. To view it click on the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/Final%20Guidance%20document.pdf
Back in 2002, awareness that illegally logged wood was sold and used in Europe grew rapidly in Europe. The first response of the European Institutions was the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan that was listing a series of actions aiming at curbing down illegal logging. Among these possible actions, the negotiations of bilateral agreements with timber producing and exporting countries – the so-called Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) -, the adaptation of public procurement policies, the better use of existing instruments (like the CITES Convention or the EU measures against money laundering), capacity building and development aid for the producing countries, private sector voluntary initiatives, etc. Later, the EU felt the need to develop a legislative proposal with a views to “minimize the risk” of placing illegally logged timber on the EU market. The idea of the Regulation was born.
The Regulation requires anyone who supplies or sells timber or a processed timber products for the first time on the EU market to carry out a due diligence, assess the potential risks related to the products (origin, species, etc.) and, if needed, mitigate the risks. Still any subsequent user of the wood or wood products, once it has been placed on the market, must provide basic information on his supplier and his buyer.
CEPI created a simple decision tree, that can be followed as a video, pausing where necessary, to check whether one needs to exercise ‘due diligence’ or not and how to do it. The decision tree brings the issue down to a simple matrix, making it easy for any user of paper or wood products to determine their obligations in this EU Timber Regulation.
Full list of exceptions for the EU Timber Regulation: http://www.euflegt.efi.int/files/attachments/euflegt/summary_eu_timber_regulation_27012012.pdf
European Commission page on the EU timber regulation http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/timber_regulation.htm
Raw material efficiency in the European Paper Industry - Doing more with less is what we do best
CEPI created an infographic on raw material efficiency in the European paper industry. The infographic is based on a 2011 study by Udo Mantau from the University of Hamburg. The study, based on data from FAO and Eurostat, shows how much wood is growing in the EU forests and which fraction of this wood is harvested to be used as a raw material for the production of paper and wood products.
New report underlines sustainability benefits of using forest products
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) today released a report highlighting the key role forests and forest products play in furthering sustainable solutions in a resource constrained world. Facts and Trends: Forests, forest products, carbon & energy underlines their necessity for a future low-carbon and bio-based economy, as they can help to reduce society’s greenhouse gas emissions.
To meet growing demand for forest fiber, sustainable forest management is a key strategy and development opportunity, accommodating and leveraging the ample economic, social and ecological benefits of forests and forest products.
Facts and Trends: Forests, forest products, carbon & energy aligns with the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which noted that over the long term sustainable forest management strategies that maintain or increase forest carbon stocks, while sustaining yield of timber, fiber or energy will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.
This report is a companion document to the November 2011 released The Sustainable Forest Products Industry, Carbon and Climate Change – Key Messages for Policy-Makers and provides an overview of simple facts and trends about forests, forest products, carbon and energy.
About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Together with its members, the Council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action. Leveraging its strong relationships with stakeholders as the leading advocate for business, the Council helps drive debate and policy change in favor of sustainable development solutions.
The WBCSD provides a forum for its 200 member companies - who represent all business sectors, all continents and a combined revenue of more than $7 trillion - to share best practices on sustainable development issues and to develop innovative tools that change the status quo. The Council also benefits from a network of 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.
For more information, please contact
Vanessa Whittall, Communications
+41 22 839 3157
European forest and forest-based sectors commit to strengthen cooperation
By signing a Memorandum of Understanding this week, the executive directors of four European associations – namely the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), and the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) - formally committed themselves to strengthen their communication and cooperation in the future.
The four organisations, representing the core of the European forest sector, have a long history of regular communication and frequent cooperation. Forestry plays a prominent role in the work of each association. The associations represent major stakeholders of the European forest resource-holding side (the forest owners) and the processing side (the forest-based industry) –embodying the key players of the entire European forest and timber value chain. All four organisations are also shareholders of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP).
The purpose of this memorandum is to formally agree:
- to regularly meet, communicate and exchange information about forest and forest-based sectors relevant topics and policy developments at EU and pan-European level and the activities of each organisation.
- to observe risks and opportunities of non-forest and forest policies for the forest and forest-based sector at EU and pan-European level.
- to explore options of cooperation and common activities, in particular to strengthen and promote forest and forest-based sector positions within EU and pan-European policy processes and other related initiatives.
The common principles of the forest sector core group are:
- to promote the principles of Sustainable Forest Management, and facilitate its implementation at all levels.
- to promote the use of wood and resource efficiency.
- to promote the relevance of the forest and forest-based sector in rural development and a global green economy.
For further details about this cooperation and pictures or interview requests, please contact the Secretariats of each of the organisations below.
FTP – Forest-based Sector Technology Platform: www.forestplatform.org