Of all the legal issues I thought a seat in Procurement, State Aids and Competition Law would bring (I wouldn’t have been able to tell you many to be fair), the illegal harvest of timber was probably not one of them…
Similarly if you asked me whether I thought I’d become a timber ‘nerd’ I’d have probably laughed (politely) in your face and said no. But I would have been wrong. The forthcoming EU Timber Regulations (EUTR) will take effect from 3 March 2013, in case you wondered, and will have a widespread impact across the timber trade. The EUTR will compel all companies that first bring timber or timber products into the EU to show they have effectively assessed their suppliers, via a ‘due diligence system’ to minimise the risk of sourcing illegal timber. This is part of the EU’s environmental policy and has been largely supported by the Timber sector.
Despite the EUTR being approved in 2010, it has only recently become a real forefront issue as we approach the final countdown stages. For example, the ‘special focus’ section of the latest edition of the Timber Trade Journal was dedicated to the long-awaited EUTR. Of course I am a Timber Trade Journal (the ‘TTJ’ to us timber nerds) subscriber, and am looking to subscribe to more timber publications! Despite the potential lack of ‘glamour’ and celebrity gossip surrounding the timber trade, it really is fascinating! It’s certainly not an aspect of law I was expecting to be dealing with, but I have been lucky enough to provide advice for several new clients in relation to it. It has been a timber whirlwind which I’m hoping will continue.
Although I’m not ashamed of being a timber nerd, perhaps I have gone a bit too far. Perhaps it is a little anti-social to explain to your friends about the FSC certification stamp on a brush in the Body Shop or want to discuss with them how every piece of timber used in building the London Olympics sites was certified ‘legal and sustainable’. Or maybe I just need new friends?