EU TO BAN ILLEGAL TIMBER IMPORTS BY 2012
The EU has reached agreement on new legislation that will ban the importation of illegal timber by 2012.
EU companies will be obliged to carry out “due diligence” on their timber supply chains to ensure that imported timber is legally harvested.
Companies that fail to comply with the regulations will face fines based on the environmental damage caused by the activities.
“Substantial penalties would apply in cases of non-compliance, which could be calculated on the basis of environmental damage caused,” the European Parliament said in a statement.
It is hoped that the new legislation will have a similar impact in the EU as the Lacey Act has had on the timber market in the US, where high-profile companies including Gibson Guitars have face investigation.
MEPs and the European Council have reached a provisional agreement that there should be a “prohibition” on illegal timber in the EU and MEPs will vote on the proposal in July before it is presented to the European Council in the autumn.
Finnish Green MEP, Satu Hassi, said: “I am delighted that the Parliament was able to secure fundamental improvements to the draft regulation on illegally harvested timber.”