What is forest certification? What does it certify? How is it used? What can you tell from a certificate?
The answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding the relationship between voluntary certification of forest products and the EU Timber Regulations.
This report presents the findings of a study conducted on the behalf of the European Commission, to provide a better overview of forest-related certification schemes and the differences between them. A better understanding of how well certification schemes align with the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), will benefit the Operators of the timber industry, as defined by the regulation, as well as the authorities responsible for enforcing it.
The provisions of the EUTR and related implementing guidelines provide clarity that, although certified material may play a role in the due diligence process, it is not an automatic “green lane” to meet the due diligence obligations. Rather than being exempted from the requirements of the regulation - like CITES or FLEGT licensed wood-products placed on the EU market - Operators still must conduct a risk assessment of materials carrying a certification claim. The findings of this study can therefore be used in the following two ways: - for certification schemes evaluated as part of the study, as a direct support to the risk assessment, adding detail to this process by providing information on where potential strengths as well as gaps may exist in the coverage of the specific certification scheme, - for other schemes not evaluated as part of the study, this summary repor t should provide guidance as to how the scheme should be evaluated, identifying both the strengths and gaps which are common to many certification schemes.