WWF-Germany files charges against paper retailers suspected of violating EU Timber Regulation | WWF

WWF-Germany files charges against paper retailers suspected of violating EU Timber Regulation



Posted on 22 April 2015
Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing  for Palm oil plantation. TESSO NILO Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing for Palm oil plantation. TESSO NILO Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© Alain Compost / WWF
Berlin – WWF-Germany has filed charges against a number of stationery retailers and  importers selling paper products originating from tropical rainforests without accurate  knowledge  of  their  source, a violation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), enforced in 2013. Retailers include Depesche,  KiK,  Iden,  Bentino  and Carstensen.

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, immo.fischer@wwf.de, @immofischer
Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing  for Palm oil plantation. TESSO NILO Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing for Palm oil plantation. TESSO NILO Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© Alain Compost / WWF Enlarge