WWF-Germany files charges against paper retailers suspected of violating EU Timber Regulation
The EUTR regulation requires companies to ensure the legal provenance of certain wood and paper products when they are placed into the EU market for the first time.
"These companies are not concerned about where their paper comes from, and do not care if this means valuable tropical forests are destroyed,” says Johannes Zahnen, spokesman for forestry policy at WWF Germany.
The charges are based on laboratory tests conducted by WWF. A total of 144 different paper products were tested to determine their composition. Tropical timber was found in almost 20 percent of the products, although most of the companies had ruled out this possibility. According to WWF, this constitutes a breach of due diligence obligations in the EUTR.
"Companies are legally required to conduct a risk assessment for the products they import,” says Zahnen. "This requires knowledge of the timber’s provenance. If they don’t even know what sort of timber
was used in their paper or where it comes from, there is no way they can perform a credible risk assessment.”
In other words, if the paper is found to contain unknown tropical timber, the product should not be imported in the first place, as the risk cannot be determined.
The charges will now be reviewed by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), the body responsible for monitoring compliance with the EUTR in Germany.
"In southeast Asia, there is a high risk of wood and paper products originating from illegal sources. Responsibly-minded companies should avoid importing from this region altogether unless a trustworthy seal such as FSC certification is involved,” advises Zahnen.
For more information, contact Immo Fischer, WWF-Germany, Tel.: 030 / 311 777 427, firstname.lastname@example.org, @immofischer