On the 3rd of March this year the European Union introduced a new Timber Regulation No. 995/2010 which makes it an offence to place illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market.
The implications of the new Regulation at every level of the packaging supply chain are far reaching – failure to comply with the new legislation is likely to result in fines, confiscation of illegal products and immediate suspension of authorisation to trade by the Competent Authority for that EU Member State. Each Member State has to develop its own national rules on penalties applicable for infringements of the provision of the Regulation, which will be monitored by the Competent Authority – which, for the UK, is the National Measurement Office (NMO).
It is vital that businesses within the packaging industry supply chain, whether they are manufacturers or customers are aware of the new Regulation as the term ‘timber product’ spans a whole range of items that they will deal directly with including disposable cups, paper plates, paper napkins and cardboard boxes.
The Regulation has been imposed in direct response to the increasing concern over the awareness that illegally logged timber was being bought and sold throughout Europe. Since 2002 various actions have been taken to reduce illegal logging activities. The EU eventually decided to take firm action in order to minimise the risk of illegally logged timber entering the supply chain, hence the introduction of the new Regulation No 995/2010.
The Regulation has different implications for operators and traders. The majority of the rules apply to the operator who is identified as the first organisation to place the timber product on the market within the EU. It is a requirement of the operator to then apply a due diligence system to mitigate the risk that the timber was harvested illegally. The actions required are threefold and operators have the choice to either develop and implement their own due diligence or employ one set up by an external monitoring organisation.
1. Information – The operator must have access to the following information and be able to produce it on request from the Competent Authority:
• Product description
• Species of timber
• Country of harvest
• Supplier details
• Customer details
• Whether or not it is compliant with forestry legislation
2. Risk Assessment Procedure – The operator must carry out its own risk assessment based on the product information provided. The two key elements that must be addressed are the likelihood of illegal logging in the country of origin and traceability.
3. Risk Mitigation Procedure – Finally, if the risk assessment throws up doubt on the legality of the product a risk mitigation procedure must take place which should be adequate and proportionate. This could involve gathering further information or third party verification.
If, however you are a trader, which is an individual or organisation responsible for purchasing or selling timber that has already been placed on the EU market the system of regulation is less stringent, but nevertheless just as vital. In this instance you will be expected to keep records of who you buy your timber-based product from and who you sell it on to. You will be required to keep these details on file for five years and will be expected to produce this information on request from the Competent Authority.
We at Huhtamaki understand that some of our customers may find the details and observance of the new EU Timber Regulation a daunting prospect. As a company, we are dedicated to offering our clients the highest levels of customer service. To this end, and to help them understand the Regulation, we have created an easy-to-use guide to assist compliance. It is of great importance to us that none of our customers get caught out by the new legislation.
Our customers are already expressing delight with the approach we have undertaken in providing information and insight into the implications of the new Regulation.
Sandy Gourlay, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Costa Coffee says, “It’s great to see a manufacturer taking such a proactive approach to advising customers on this upcoming Regulation, and we’ll very much be working in partnership to ensure that all our paperboard products comply with the new legislation.”
Ray Holland, Supply Chain Manager, United Coffee comments, “Huhtamaki is acting as a responsible manufacturer with the provision of information surrounding the new Regulation. In fact, they are the first of our suppliers to offer any guidance on the legislation with a clear, concise guide which highlights both operator and trader requirements.”
Businesses who deal with timber-based products can ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the Regulation by making sure that they purchase products that have been certified under a certification scheme such as PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Businesses should also be aware that it must be the actual product that is certified and not just the supplier. Also worth noting is that ISO 9000 and 14001 certifications do not provide any assurance of legality.
Huhtamaki (UK) has already taken the necessary steps to make it easier for any customers concerned about complying with the new Regulation, by ensuring that all of its paper products are made from 100% PEFC certified paperboard. Furthermore, should customers wish to satisfy their own CSR policies and show consumers that the products they are being served comply with the highest standards of forestry practice, Huhtamaki can incorporate the PEFC logo into customised designs so customers can promote their ethical credentials.