20% of timber in Danish-Russian trade could be illegal | WWF

20% of timber in Danish-Russian trade could be illegal



Posted on 21 December 2003
Twenty per cent of timber reaching Denmark from Russia could be illegal.
© WWF-Russia
Copenhagen, Denmark - A report released today by WWF on the timber trade between Russia and Denmark shows that there is a risk that companies in Denmark are buying wood products from Russia that have been illegally harvested. It estimates that 20 per cent of Russian wood products exported to Denmark could be illegally harvested.

The report, The Russian-Danish trade in wood products and illegal logging in Russia, highlights the risk for Danish companies in buying illegal wood unless measures are taken to keep it out of their supply chains.

Russia is the fourth largest supplier of wood products to Denmark. Most of the wood products imported to Denmark come from northwest Russia (47 per cent) or Siberia (35 per cent).

WWF recommends that:
• the Russian government reforms its forest policy to address illegal logging and trade, and logging in high conservation value forests

• the Danish and Russian governments support the EU's efforts to address illegal logging and work together to ensure that the Russian/Danish trade in wood products is legal and sustainable

• the Danish government ensures that the Danish public procurement of Russian wood products is legal and sustainable

• suppliers of Russian wood and importers of Russian wood products to Denmark develop and implement procurement policies to ensure that they only purchase legal and sustainable wood products

• suppliers of Russian wood and the importers of Russian wood products to Denmark develop and implement supply chain management systems to improve their legal and environmental performance.

The 10 leading importers of Russian wood products to Denmark surveyed in WWF's report were classified into three main types: importers with a large and diverse group of suppliers in Russia; importers with a limited number of suppliers and one major permanent supplier; and trading agents of Russian producers.

"Importers with numerous suppliers need to especially make a special effort to ensure that illegally harvested wood does not enter their supply chain," said Jacob Andersen, Forest Officer at WWF-Denmark
 
WWF-Denmark and WWF-Russia will now initiate a project on combating illegal logging in Russia, in collaboration with Danish and Russian authorities as well as three leading importers of Russian wood products to Denmark and some of their Russian suppliers.

Illegal logging has become a significant problem in Russia within the last two decades. The Russian government loses very significant amounts of money due to illegal logging, and illegal logging threatens the Russian forests in general and the large primeval forests in Russia in particular. The main underlying causes to illegal logging in Russia are: imperfect legislation and forest policy; inadequate control with forestry operations; low wood processing capacity; the behaviour of large timber traders; and low standard of living and high unemployment in wood-producing areas.

For further information:
Jacob Andersen
Forest Officer, WWF-Denmark 
E-mail: j.andersen@wwf.dk 
Tel: +45 35247834 or +45 26241275 (mobile)
 
Twenty per cent of timber reaching Denmark from Russia could be illegal.
© WWF-Russia Enlarge