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IMM project news

IMM annual report: FLEGT acceptance as evidence of low-risk with respect to FSC Controlled Wood criteria and the PEFC Due Diligence standard? 

The FSC Controlled Wood System was first introduced in 2004 alongside introduction of the FSC Mix label which allows, under controlled conditions, the mixing of FSC certified material with uncertified material in FSC labelled products. The non-certified portion must comply with the FSC Controlled Wood standards which enable manufacturers and traders to avoid timber and timber products from unacceptable sources. The Controlled Wood requirements are an integral part of FSC chain of custody (CoC) certification which, at the end of 2018, applied to 40,000 operators worldwide, including nearly 20,000 in the EU. 

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Certification has profited from introduction of EUTR

The IMM 2018 trade survey analysed whether there were any perceived direct impacts from the introduction of FLEGT-licensing and the EUTR on imports of timber certified by private certification and legality verification schemes. Figure 1 shows that, according to respondents, private schemes, especially FSC, have profited to some degree from the introduction of EUTR. Several respondents remarked that, since EUTR was introduced, they have tended to prefer certified timber from countries where the risk of illegal harvest is considered non-negligible and certification is used as the principle mechanism to mitigate this risk.

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Global area of certified forest records first ever annual decline in 2018

Overall progress of third-party certification under the FSC and PEFC frameworks in VPA partner countries was slow before efforts to develop FLEGT licensing systems began and, in most countries, progress has remained slow during the period of TLAS implementation. Total FSC and PEFC certified area in all VPA Partner countries was 17.5 million hectares in 2018, up from 11.62 million hectares in 2012 and less than 3 million hectares in 2007. While the rate of increase is impressive, in 2018 less than 4% of total forest area in VPA partner countries was certified and around 80% of the certified area was in just two of the 15 countries, Indonesia (38%) and Malaysia (42%). 

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IMM 2019 survey shows little change in overall FLEGT awareness 

The IMM 2017-2019 EU Trade Surveys recorded no significant changes in the overall level of awareness of the FLEGT VPA process (chart 1) among respondents over the last three years. The number of companies claiming to be “fully aware” of the process dropped by 17 percentage points in 2018, with some companies stating that they only realised that they had not fully understood the process after beginning to hear more about it. At the same time, the number of companies claiming to the be “totally unaware” of the process had risen as well. However, this was believed by IMM correspondents to have mainly been expressions of frustration with the duration of the process, which resurfaced in 2018, after initial euphoria over Indonesia achieving the Licensing stage in late 2016. In 2019, the number of “fully aware” companies increased again slightly, while the number of “totally unaware” companies fell. 

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80% of survey respondents find importing with FLEGT-License easier than EUTR DD

The IMM 2017 survey serves as a baseline for EU trade perceptions of the Indonesian FLEGT-licensing system and day-to-day management of importing Licensed timber. Repetition of the same questions in 2018 and 2019 now allows for comparison over time. Chart 1 shows a sharp and constant rise of the proportion of respondents finding the administrative process of importing FLEGT-licensed timber easily understandable and manageable over the last three years. The number of respondents highlighting challenges continued to fall in 2019, after declining sharply in 2018.

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IMM 2018 Annual Report: FLEGT VPA Partners in EU Timber Trade 2018

IMM’s latest Annual Report, “FLEGT VPA Partners in EU Timber Trade 2018”, shows that the combined share of the VPA partner countries in global tropical wood products trade (all products in HS 44 and wood furniture products in HS 94) was 78.8% in 2018, slightly down from 78.9% in 2017 and 79.4% in 2016. This trend is set in the context of an 8% rise in global tropical wood products trade in 2018, to US$39.8 billion.

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