Building Capacity Across Supply Chains in Southeast AsiaThe 2008 amendment to the Lacey Act gives the US government the authority to fine, and even jail, individuals and companies who traffic in illegally harvested wood products in or into the US. This law, and the import declaration it requires for selected products, affects manufacturers and exporters who ship a variety of products made from wood to the US, including paper, furniture, lumber, flooring, plywood or even picture frames.
Naturally, outreach efforts in the past year have focused on building understanding among US-based companies on the details of the Lacey Act. The US government and members of the Lacey Coalition (which includes EIA, WRI, TNC, TRAFFIC and WWFUS) have invested much effort in raising awareness among US companies regarding their responsibilities under the Act.
US companies importing timber products and practicing “due care” in their sourcing need their suppliers, such as mills and manufacturers throughout Asia, to understand their role in ensuring compliance with the Lacey Act amendment. With support from the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) program, WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) and TRAFFIC organized 12 Legality Training Seminars to ensure that the details of the Lacey Act amendment are broadly understood within the target audience in selected RAFT project countries throughout Asia, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Moreover, these training activities helped these actors understand their role in helping their US customers comply with the law.
Increasing awareness among both forest managers and processors on the specific steps that should be taken to help their US customers ensure compliance, these workshops also highlighted resources from which operators can attain additional assistance. The work built on the existing experience of the GFTN and TRAFFIC as well as outputs from a recent European Commission funded project that developed a framework for identifying the legality of forestry operations, timber processing and trade.
Training over 600 processors who export to the US, either directly or indirectly, the workshop set out to address the issue of legality in a way that suited their needs. While US companies can find resources to assist their understanding and typically have the resources to seek legal counsel or other expert opinion as to legal interpretation or good practice, target producers are affected by the Lacey Act in a different way. They need to understand the implications as exporters and be able to assist their customers in their own attempts at compliance and establishing traceability.
More work still needs to be done as the processors trained at these workshops, represent only 1 per cent of the forest products exporters in these countries. GFTN will continue to expand its suite of resources on legality and offer more trainings in the future.
For more information, contact:
Hisayo Fujikawa (firstname.lastname@example.org)