GFTN and TRAFFIC Help Forest Products Companies Navigate a Shifting Legal Landscape | WWF

GFTN and TRAFFIC Help Forest Products Companies Navigate a Shifting Legal Landscape

Posted on 26 July 2010
Floating logs from illegal logging on a river in front of a saw mill near Sembuluh. Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26 July 2010 -- Increased international legislation banning trade in illegal timber, such as the amended Lacey Act in the United States, has created a myriad of questions for the global forest products supply chain. U.S. companies importing timber products and practicing due care in their sourcing, need suppliers, such as mills and manufacturers from across Southeast Asia, to understand their role in ensuring compliance with these regulations. Recognizing the complexity of navigating this shifting legal landscape, WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network and TRAFFIC, with support from the USAID’s Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade programme, will lead a series of Legality Training Workshops this week to educate Malaysian forest products enterprises on specific steps to show compliance with relevant laws and help their U.S. customers demonstrate due care.

As part of a series of workshops being held across Southeast Asia through July, August and September, the Malaysian suite of Legality Training Workshops will be held in the following cities:

July 27: 9am-4pm: Nikko Hotel, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
July 28: 8.45am-12pm: Tanahmas Hotel, Sibu, Sarawak
July 29: 8.45am-12pm: Promenade Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Bringing together representatives from government, industry and the environmental community, these training seminars will provide:
  • Background on the amended U.S. Lacey Act
  • What U.S. importers need from Malaysian suppliers
  • How to help U.S. customers demonstrate due care
  • The relevant laws in Malaysia and how to show compliance
  • Access to organizations and information on legal and responsible trade
  • Briefing materials to train staff
The first law of its kind to prohibit the import, sale or trade of illegally-harvested wood and wood products, the Lacey Act has also given a boost to efforts in other countries. The European Union is already negotiating bilateral voluntary procurement agreements (VPAs), which focus on legal timber sourcing from producing countries , and it is also in the final stages of approving a “due diligence” regulation to curb illegal timber entering the European market.

These increased international regulations banning trade in illegal timber show that a movement for legal and responsible timber and wood products is growing. These workshops will help build capacity among Malaysian suppliers to remain competitive in the increasingly complex global marketplace.

“The amended U.S. Lacey Act is an important tool in helping Malaysia enforce its own laws governing trade in timber and timber products,” said Brian McFeeters, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy.

“It is imperative for companies in Malaysia to understand the law, what’s required from them to help their customers in the U.S. demonstrate compliance and how they can play a part in a larger international movement to combat trade in illegal wood.”

As new product declarations under the Lacey Act are enforced starting in September, a growing number of U.S.-based forest products importers will seek assurances from their suppliers that the products they source overseas have been legally produced. Meaning that the timber has been harvested, possessed, transported, sold or exported without breaking any relevant underlying laws in the country where the tree was grown, even if it was processed in another country.

“If you are exporting to the U.S. market, you need to understand how the Lacey Act impacts your customers in the U.S., who will face large fines, confiscation and imprisonment if they cannot demonstrate that the wood used in making the products they import is legal,” said George White, Head of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN). “With a long-standing history in advancing responsible forestry and trade, the GFTN is well placed to help Malaysian suppliers understand this groundbreaking law, learn specific steps to demonstrate legal sourcing and most importantly, source responsibly by purchasing certified timber.”

“Illegal logging and timber trade not only undermine conservation, but also result in reduced profitability of legal trade, loss of foreign revenue and currency exchange, uncollected forest-related taxes and depleted forest resources and services,” said Chen Hin Keong, TRAFFIC’s Global Forest Trade Programme Leader. “As international legislation increases to combat trade in illegal timber, it will be imperative for all links in the supply chain to show that they have taken the appropriate measures to keep illegal timber out the global marketplace.”

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Chen Hin Keong, TRAFFIC Global Forest Trade Programme Leader, Tel: +603-7880 3940 or 012-2783445,
Ms. Subashni Bahsu, WWF-Malaysia Media & Public Affairs Senior Executive, Tel: +603-78033772 ext 6306,

About Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN)
The Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) is WWF’s initiative to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management while transforming the global marketplace into a force for saving the world’s valuable and threatened forests. First established in 1991, it is the world’s longest-running and largest forest and trade program of its kind—providing assistance to hundreds of companies in many countries.

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC was established in 1976 and has developed into a global network, research-driven and action-oriented, committed to delivering innovative and practical conservation solutions based on the latest information. TRAFFIC also works in close co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

About Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT)
The Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) is a five-year program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID RDMA) in Bangkok. RAFT is managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC), Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF), The Forest Trust (TFT) and WWF. RAFT operates in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam. The goal of RAFT is to improve forest management and timber trade practices in Asia thereby reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Floating logs from illegal logging on a river in front of a saw mill near Sembuluh. Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
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