Forests

Only 30% of tropical timber products in EU market are sustainable

Sustainable timber sourcing can protect over 5 million hectares of tropical forest, says a new report on sustainability of Europe’s timber imports 

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 27 June 2018 | 09:51:03 AM
An EU commitment to 100% verified sustainable tropical timber can help meet climate change mitigation targets. Credit: waferboard/Flickr
An EU commitment to 100% verified sustainable tropical timber can help meet climate change mitigation targets. Credit: waferboard/Flickr An EU commitment to 100% verified sustainable tropical timber can help meet climate change mitigation targets. Credit: waferboard/Flickr

In a first, a report provides market share estimates of verified sustainable tropical timber in Europe's main tropical timber importing countries.

Export-oriented commercial agriculture is the single largest driver of tropical deforestation, with demand for soybean, palm oil and wood products constantly soaring in the international market.

The majority of Europe’s tropical roundwood, sawnwood and veneer is imported from Africa and its tropical plywood mainly originates from Asian countries, where competition is tough.

The report found that while France, Belgium and Spain have a low (12 per cent) share of verified sustainable tropical timber, the UK and Netherlands have a higher share at 48 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively. However, they are still far from 100 per cent verified sustainable timber import.

The report says that if just seven of Europe’s leading tropical timber-importing countries (UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Spain) assured 100 per cent sustainable sourcing of timber, over 5 million hectares of tropical forest can be protected, says the report by the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition.  

The report, How Sustainable are Europe’s Tropical Timber Imports? was commissioned and co-authored by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and forest and timber experts.

It identifies trends in tropical timber trade in the EU market, and explores how an EU commitment to 100% verified sustainable tropical timber can contribute to deforestation-free supply chains and help meet climate change mitigation targets.

One of the ways EU can achieve the same is through public-private action. Six out of the seven main markets have signed the Amsterdam Declaration, committing to sustainable sourcing of the ‘deforestation commodities’ palm oil, soy and cocoa – but not timber.

The report calls for governments, NGOs and the private sector in EU timber importing countries to focus more attention on increasing the market share of verified sustainable tropical timber.

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