The EU Timber Regulation
The EU Timber Regulation plays an important role in the fight against illegal logging. Illegal logging is a global problem with damaging consequences economically, environmentally and socially. Deforestation, climate change, land conflicts and corruption are among its associated impacts. The Regulation has been in force since March 2013 and is implemented throughout the EU. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine plays an important role in tackling global illegal logging through its application of the EU Timber Regulation (given effect in Ireland by Statutory Instrument No. 316 of 2014).
The EU market
The purpose of the EU Timber Regulation (or EUTR as it is also known) is to ensure that only legal timber and timber products are placed on the EU market. Operators in Ireland who place such products on the market for the first time (whether from domestic or international sources) are required to comply with the Regulation. Traders who sell or buy timber or timber products commercially within the EU are also subject to some EUTR requirements.
The EU Timber Regulation places the obligation of ensuring product legality upon the ‘Operator’. Operators are individuals or entities who are first placers of timber and timber products on the Irish or EU market. Companies and individuals who import such products from outside the EU into Ireland for commercial purposes have specific obligations in relation to due diligence and placing of products on the market.
The product range covered by the EUTR is extensive and covers almost all timber and timber products (including paper products). There are a small number of exceptions including recycled products and printed papers.
Examples of products to which the Regulation applies include: furniture, flooring, pulp and paper, sawn wood, wood in the rough, fuel wood, particle board, veneers, plywood, builders’ joinery, and soft furnishings which contain timber such as wooden frames etc.
Particularly noteworthy is the requirement that Operators must make use of a robust Due Diligence System to ensure that the timber product is legal, based on the laws of the country of harvest. It is an offence for Operators to fail to make use of such a Due Diligence System. In addition, placing timber that is not legal on the EU market is prohibited. Authorised Officers of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine carry out EUTR-compliance checks on Operators and Traders in Ireland. If your business is involved in importing or first placing product on the Irish market which contains a timber element/component then it is likely that the EUTR and its Due Diligence requirements apply to you. Operators and Traders have obligations to undertake in order to be EUTR compliant and to avoid the sanctions which are provided for under Statutory Instrument No 316 of 2014.
Further information is available from EUTR@agriculture.gov.ie and from the websites of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Commission.
How sustainable is that timber? – William Merivale, National Secretary, PEFC Ireland
Wood is one of the most remarkable and versatile materials in the world, and unlike most industrial raw materials, it is potentially infinitely renewable. Provided it is sourced from
sustainably managed forests it has a minimal carbon footprint, and when used in construction, its thermal insulation properties result in buildings with a very low-energy demand. Today, recent developments in engineered timber allow even large scale and high-rise projects to be built entirely of wood rather than concrete and steel, with significant and measurable benefits to the lives of those who live and work in them. Wood is the concrete of the future.
Forests are of course, essential for the health of the planet, playing a crucial role in mitigating climate change and providing vital ecosystem services. Growing trees sequesters carbon, and that carbon is locked up for the lifetime of the products we make. But in a world where deforestation and the illegal timber trade continue to represent some of the great challenges of our time, how can we be sure that those products we consume are not adding to the problem?
The answer lies in forest certification and there are two internationally recognised certification systems, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the
Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), that provide assurances of responsible practices in the forest and, through chain of custody certification, the means to track the flow of wood throughout the supply chain from certified forest to final product. Certificates are awarded independently by accredited certification bodies and the audit process includes the required checks to ensure due diligence has been exercised.
As the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC is at the forefront of ensuring that the wood products we buy have been sustainably produced and our message is that wood is good. We should all use more wood, not less, provided it has been certified.
A new trade association for the forestry and timber industries, Forest Industries Ireland (FII), sees recent launch
FII is a new business sector within Ibec, the national business organisation. The new association has 22 member companies from across the island of Ireland, which comprise the full span of the forestry supply chain. Currently, forest cover’s 11% of Ireland land area, 49% of which is privately owned The forest sector currently supports 12,000 rural jobs that are spread throughout every region of the country.
“FII is placing timber and forestry at the heart of Ireland’s rural economy. With a combined turnover of over €800 million, the industry is a major player in the rural and national economies,” Brian Murphy, the inaugural chairperson of FII and CEO of Enniskillen-based timber processor Balcas, said.
FII is predicting major growth in the coming years. It estimates a doubling of the industry’s turnover to €1.6 billion by 2035. It also expects the creation of an additional 6,000 rural jobs on top of the 12,000 already in the industry. It also predicts that timber output from Irish forests is set to double between now and 2035, which will double industry output.
83% of Ireland’s forest product exports are destined for the UK. Speaking today, Murphy said that “Brexit is a source of anxiety because the important part of trade is that we continue to move products smoothly across borders”. However, in a statement announcing the launch of FII, Murphy said that they are “confident that the industry will prosper in the long-term, even with Brexit”.
Coillte CEO Fergal Leamy added that from the company’s perspective, they “would be concerned about Brexit”. “However, we’ve been working on this now for two years in terms of preparedness. We have taken steps in terms of taking warehouse space in the UK,” Leamy added. We’re very well prepared as an industry. I think we’ve put an awful lot of effort into this.
Generally speaking, preparations are being made at British, Irish and European level for a no-deal Brexit, in case an agreement is not reached ahead of the official withdrawal date
of 29 March.
ECC Timber Products
Suppliers of quality timber products to Construction, Fencing and Packaging Markets.
ECC Timber, which is based in Co. Galway, is one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of quality timber products for the Construction, Fencing and Packaging markets in Ireland and the UK. ECC was established in 1992 by PJ Fahy, and has proven to be one of the most progressive businesses in the timber industry, growing annual production volumes from 20,000m3 in 1992 to over 500,000m3 today.
ECC’s focus on customer requirements, continuous improvement and investment in the future has seen the Fahy family push forwards with ambitious plans and a 5-year capital investment program, which is currently in its second year.
ECC Timber products recently announced the commissioning of a new state-of-the-art 8.5MW biomass boiler. Commenting on future plans, Managing Director Daryl Fahy said that “satisfying the increasing requirements of our customers will continue to drive our capital programs in terms of plant, equipment and personnel. Our team is ready to build on our good name for quality products and service”.
To ensure the needs of the market and our customers, ECC prides itself on being at the forefront of new product development and innovation. With the highly successful launch of their 15-year warrantied UC4 fencing range in 2016, ECC has further increased their product range with the introduction of Canadian Lumber Standard (CLS), innovative T&G, and an extended range of fencing products.
Currently ECC Timber Products are the only Irish saw mill possessing both FSC and PEFC certification, catering for their customers Chain of Custody demands.
Managing customer expectations is vital to the company’s success, and this is driven by their sales team, which is led by John Diskin in Ireland and Martin Oxley in the UK. Commenting on the product range, Martin Oxley said “By adding to our construction and
fencing product portfolio, it has further enhanced our position as a key supplier to the UK market and everything being produced at the one site enables us to successfully offer a one-stop-shop service to our customer base.”
With increased activity levels evident on the domestic market in Ireland, John Diskin said “ECC`s commitment to service, quality and innovation has led to us becoming one of the largest suppliers of Construction, Fencing and Pallet materials in Ireland and the UK”.