Purchasing Tropical Timber – environmental guidelines


Purchasing Tropical Timber – environmental guidelines

ContentIntroduction 3The easiest way is not always easy... 4Tropical timber –properties and applications 5Legally produced timber 7Sustainably produced timber 8Other environmental factors 9Requirements and documentation 10Purchasing tropical timber 14Useful information 17Checklist18TFront Cover Photo:Timber on a truck, MalaysiaPhoto: Hanne ChristensenTropical rainforest in Crocker Range, Borneo2 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental Photo: Jacob guidelines Andersen

IntroductionThe aim of these guidelines is to makeit easier for public and semi-publicinstitutions to ensure that the tropicaltimber they purchase is produced ina legal and sustainable manner. Theguidelines will also be of use to privateinstitutions and individuals.The guidelines cover raw materials,finished goods and intermediate productsincorporating wood from tropicalforests, whether they be natural forests,for example rainforests, or plantations.Recycled wood and paper products arenot covered.Timber is an important source of incomefor many tropical countries. Thetropical forests are also the lifebloodof local and indigenous people, andcontain a unique biodiversity. Tropicalforests can be readily sacrificed forother applications if their value cannotbe exploited.Purchasing legally and sustainablyproduced tropical timber can thereforecontribute to the preservation of tropicalforests.However, a large proportion of tropicaltimber is neither legally nor sustainablyproduced. Unless relevant and adequatedocumentation is presented, itcan be difficult to assess whether or notthis is the case.Background reportA background report to these guidelineshas been prepared which containsmore detailed information on tropicaltree species, legal and sustainableforest management, and certificationschemes, etc. View this reporthere: www.skovognatur.dk andwww.mst.dk.Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines3

The easiest way isnot always easy…The present assessment is that theeasiest way to obtain legally and sustainablyproduced tropical timber isby means of an FSC certificate.The Malaysian certificate, MTCC, isconsidered to provide a good guaranteeof legal forest management, on its waytowards becoming sustainable.However, FSC and MTCC timber canbe difficult to obtain, and at presentthere are certain tree species that cannotbe supplied with these certificates.This is the case, for example, for themost popular tree species used forharbour construction work.There are alternative ways to documentlegality and sustainability. See thesection on documentation.4 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

Tropical timber –properties and applicationsIn these guidelines, »tropical timber«refers to wood from tree species growingin the tropical belt along the equator.Typical tropical wood types areknown by trade names such as azobé,teak, mahogany, merbau, meranti,jatoba, and doussié. Some names covermany different species and many specieshave numerous trade names.Most of the tropical timber used inDenmark is produced in naturalforests, as only very few species aregrown in plantations – primarily Teakand Eucalyptus, the latter of whichis mainly used for paper production.Tropical timber is used, e.g. in harbourconstruction works, bridges, floors,windows, and doors, as well as forindoor and outdoor furniture. Tropicaltimber is also used in plywood, e.g. forcladding building interiors.The advantage of most tropical timberis that it has good natural durability,making it suited for and environmentallyfriendly in the outdoor environment,without impregnation with preservatives,etc.In addition, a lot of tropical timber hasa number of aesthetic qualities andgreat strength.Experience has shown that a few wellknownwood types come under strongdemand because it is thought that onlythese types are especially well suitedfor particular purposes, whereas infact less well-known wood types thatare easier to obtain from legal andsustainable forest management areoften equally well suited. This can putpressure on endangered species andparticular types of forest.Purchasers can therefore help protectforests by requesting wood with particulartechnical properties and appearance,instead of just asking for woodfrom one or a few particular species.However, it is always important to ensuregood documentation is providedfor the technical properties of the woodbeing offered.Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines5

stant to shipworm and gribble. In waterwith a salt concentration of approx.0.9 to 3.5 per cent, these creatures cancause serious damage if the wood is notresistant.Azobé is the most commonly usedwood species in harbour construction,but Basralocus and Greenheart are alsoused. These types normally all havegood durability in saltwater. Theremight possibly be suitable alternativeswith good durability, but experiencewith these is limited. They are oftenonly available in small quantities andsizes, and there can also be significantvariations in strength properties.Copenhagen City Council and thePort of Copenhagen have publisheda comprehensive report on the useof environmentally certified tropicaltimber in hydraulic engineering, seewww.vejpark.kk.dk.Wharf - example oftropical timber applicationin a harbourPhoto: PolfotoFor example, in harbour constructionwork, very particular properties are required.The wood must be very strongand resistant to wear, while woodexposed to saltwater must also be resi-More useful information about tropicaltimber can be found at:www.trae.dk, www.top.dk andwww.teknologisk.dk.6 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

Legally produced timberIt might sound simple to demand thattimber must be produced legally, but itis not.Forest legislation varies from countryto country and it is difficult to determinewhich set of regulations is relevant.The best solution would be if thiscould be worked out by agreementwith each individual producing country.The European Commission haspublished a proposal for an action planto combat illegal logging, in part with aview to establishing such agreements.In general, it is Danish policy that theimport of illegally felled timber shouldbe combated, e.g. through agreementswith the countries of origin.Some particularly endangered speciesare covered by CITES, an internationalconvention on the trade in endangeredspecies of wild fauna and flora.CITES has various lists, which includethe tree species in question.Special permits are required in order totrade these species. For more information,see www.skovognatur.dkand chapter 3.2 (and appendix) of thebackground report.As a general guideline, stipulatingthe following legality requirements isrecommended as a minimum:• The producer has had the necessaryrights and permits to carry out loggingof the given tree species, grades anddimensions, within the given timeframeand region.• The producer has fulfilled all relevantnational legislation regardingforest management and the effects offorest management on people and theenvironment in the country in question.• Any due taxes and duties have beenpaid.• All statutory declarations and permitsfrom the authorities have beenobtained, including CITES permits ifthe tree species is covered by CITES.Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines7

Sustainably producedtimberThere are no unequivocal, globallyapplicable standards for »sustainableforest management«. The perceptionof what is »sustainable« is influencedby social and cultural value bases, andthese can vary from country to countryand over time. However, there isgeneral international agreement on thegeneral principles and criteria.For example, the Statement of ForestPrinciples from the UN Conferenceon the Environment and Developmentin Rio in 1992 declared that forests“should be sustainably managed tomeet the social, economic, ecological,cultural, and spiritual needs of presentand future generations”. The Statementlays out a number of furtherprinciples for sustainable forest management,including underlining state’sright to utilise, manage and developtheir forests – see: www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-3annex3.html.For further criteria and guidelines forthe sustainable management of tropicalforests, developed in various regionalforestry forums under the UN, by theInternational Tropical Timber Organisation(ITTO) and the Center forInternational Forestry Research (CI-FOR), see e.g.: www.itto.or.jp.These criteria cover the followingareas:• Legislative and institutional frameworks• The size of the forest resource• The health and vitality of forests• The production functions of forests• The protection functions of forests• Biodiversity• Socio-economic, cultural, andspiritual benefits and needs.Requirements for sustainably producedtropical timber should be based on theabove principles and criteria, and alsoon the requirement that the specificstandards have been developed in aconsultative process, open to participationby all affected parties, includingfinancial, environmental and socialstakeholders.8 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

Other environmentalfactorsThe environmental impact from theproduction of tropical wood productsis not very different from the environmentalimpact from the production ofother wood products. However, therecan be certain differences. Some tropicalwood species require no or verylittle treatment. This reduces the needto use chemicals, such as biocides.Conversely, tropical wood can containsubstances that are released into theindoor environment, potentiallycausing allergic reactions.Exposure to dust from certain tropicalwood species can cause cancer. It istherefore important to have specialmeasures in place to avoid this. TheDanish rules governing this area can befound at www.at.dk.More information about environmentalfactors for products containing woodcan be found in the environmentalguidelines for shelves, upholsteredfurniture, tables, filing cabinets andschool chairs – see www.mst.dk forsuggestions for specific environmentalrequirements for each product group.Tropical rainforest inEastern Sabah, BorneoPhoto: Jacob AndersenPurchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines9

Requirements anddocumentationIn a number of places in the worldtoday, the forest management donot fulfil the above requirements forlegality and sustainability. And in anumber of the places where they do,the mechanisms and administrativecapacity required to provide adequatedocumentation of the same are lacking.The problem is particularly widespreadin the tropics, where a long developmentand reorganisation process isrequired in many places in order to beable to fully satisfy the requirements.There is a risk that categorical requirementsfor full documentation of boththe legality and sustainability of forestmanagement would be tantamount to aboycott of most tropical timber. That isnot the aim of these guidelines.Rather, it is recommended that publicpurchasers adapt their requirementsto the realistic options requiring, whenever possible, documentation for boththe legality and sustainability of tropicaltimber, without being categorical.It is also recommended that timber beaccepted which is clearly producedlegally and is either partially sustainableor on the way towards sustainability, iffully sustainable timber cannot be obtainedwith adequate documentation.It is recommended that as a minimum,suppliers be required to document thatthe timber has been legally produced.CertificationForestry certification is documentationconfirming that forest managementfulfil certain standards laid down in therelevant certification scheme.Special certification systems have beendeveloped with the aim of monitoringand verifying the traceability of woodand providing manageable rules forlabelling – the »Chain of Custody«certificates, or simply CoC. The mostimportant elements that should normallybe included are shown in the boxon the next page.10 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

FSC have their own international traceabilitycertificate, while MTCC andLEI have traceability certificates thatonly cover national enterprises. Keurhoutverification encompasses certificationof the wood’s traceability as far asthe Netherlands.At present FSC is the only certificationsystem that is found to providean adequate guarantee for legally andsustainably produced tropical wood.MTCC is regarded as providing anadequate guarantee for legal forestmanagement, on their way towardssustainability, whilst marketing ofMTCC certified wood in Denmarkwill require the attachment of a CoCcertificate from Malaysia.LEI and Keurhout are not in themselves,at present, regarded as adequateguarantees for legal or sustainableforest management in the tropics, butin combination with other supportingfactors they can provide an adequateindication – see further details under“Alternative documentation”.No certification system can providea 100 per cent guarantee, and thepossibility of forgery can never be completelyexcluded. It is recommendedthat purchasers occasionally look at thewebsites of the various schemes to seeif there is current information aboutany such scams – see under “Usefulinformation”.For further information, see also thebackground report regarding theindividual certification schemes.Other eco-labelsThe Swan and Flower eco-labels covera number of relevant environmentalfactors in product life cycles. Therequirement of sustainability for theunderlying forest management forwood-based products is included, butnot in detail. As of 1 April 2003, it wasnot possible to locate easily any tropicalwood products labelled with the Swanor Flower. These labels are thereforenot presently seen as being relevantguarantees for legal or sustainableforest management in the tropics.Alternative documentationTropical wood can be legally andsustainably produced, even though itis not certified and labelled. However,it can be difficult to know whether it12 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

eally is. False declarations are in circulation,and not uncommon in someareas.It is not possible to stipulate simple,well-defined minimum requirementsfor alternative documentation, but anumber of elements can support it:• Certificates or verification schemesother than FSC and MTCC, e.g. LEIor Keurhout.• Export permits, certificates of origin,other declarations from the authoritiesand from suppliers and sub-suppliers.• Concession agreements.• A documented eco-managementsystem in accordance with ISO 14001or EMAS II or another documentedeco-management system.• Specification of the standards andguidelines used for forest management,including information about whetherthey have been developed in a consultativeprocess, open to participationby financial, environmental, and socialstakeholders.• Specification of the overriding principlesand criteria guiding the forestmanagement, indicating who has developedthese.• Specification of the method for monitoringcompliance with the standardand the entity responsible for suchmonitoring.• Documentation for legally producedtropical wood in accordance with abilateral agreement between Denmarkor the EU and the supplying country(not yet developed, as of 31 December2003).It is recommended, where possible,that alternative documentation be submittedfor assessment to an impartialthird party with market insight andknowledge of forestry conditions in thetropics.There are, as yet, no established systemsfor doing this, but is assumedthat it would be possible to requestsuch an assessment from one of the enterprisesalready accredited to performforestry certification, e.g. SGS, DNV,Smartwood, SCS, Soil Association, etc.Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines13

Purchasing tropical timberPurchasing tipsConsider the following factors beforepurchasing:• What requirements are there forwood quality, strength, durability, andaesthetics?• Is the purchase of such size that ithas to be subject to a tendering procedurein the EU?• Is the purchase covered by thestatutory order on inviting tenders inthe building and construction sector inDenmark?• Plan larger purchases well in advance,ideally 6-12 months ahead!Inviting tendersThe purchaser can choose to invitealternative offers with several levels oftechnical specifications. This leads togreater leeway in the decision process.For example, one can prepare alternativetechnical specifications at thethree levels described in the sectionon requirements and documentation.Depending on the exact conditions,one can select the most appropriatealternative at the end of the tenderingprocess, and within that alternative, themost economically attractive offer.You are not permitted to stipulate thatthe wood be labelled with a particularlabel. However, you can stipulate thatcertain requirements (possibly equivalentto the requirements of the label) befulfilled, that can be documented by alabel – but equivalent documentationmust also be accepted.Environmental factors other than legalityand sustainability can be includedin the requirements specification or theallocation criteria, and this should bemade clear in the tender documents.It is recommended that already wheninviting tenders or during pre-qualifi-14 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

cation, information be requested aboutthe documentation the supplier willbe able to provide. It is recommendedthat the actual documentation shouldnot be required until the signing of thecontract, or on delivery at the latest.If the purchase is subject to EU tenderregulations, help can be obtained fromthe guidelines from the Danish EnvironmentalProtection Agency and theDanish Competition Authority: Greenpublic procurement – guidelines on thefacilities permitting environmental considerationin connection with tenderingprocesses (Offentlige grønne indkøb– en vejledning i mulighederne for atvaretage miljøhensyn i forbindelse medafholdelse af udbud – only available inDanish).The guidelines are available fromThe Danish Competition Authority’swebsite: www.ks.dkOther good links: www.ski.dk/groent/udbudsværktoej/default.dkwww.udbudsportalen.dkTropical forest in Danum Valley,BorneoPhoto: Jacob AndersenPurchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines15

RecommendationIn conclusion, it is recommended thatpublic purchasers seek to obtain tropicalwood at three levels – see the boxbelow.Level1 Legal and sustainableRecommended documentationAn FSC certificate guaranteeing that 100% of the woodcomes from FSC-certified forest, orAlternative and adequately supported documentation, seethe section »Alternative documentation«.2 Legal and progressingtowards sustainableAn FSC certificate guaranteeing that something less than100% of the wood comes from FSC-certified forest, orAn MTCC certificate for the forest management withan attached traceability certificate from Malaysia to a Danishpurchaser, e.g. a traceability certificate from SGS, orAlternative and adequately supported documentation, seethe section “Alternative documentation”.3 LegalSee the »Alternative documentation« section.For tree species covered by the Conventionon International Trade in EndangeredSpecies of Wild Fauna andFlora (CITES), the supplier shouldalways be able to produce the necessaryCITES permits and documents,whatever the level. One should alsobe aware that a number of tree speciesmight be categorised as endangered underthe IUCN’s »Red List«. For specieson the Red List there is cause for specialvigilance.16 Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

Useful informationThe Danish EPA, environmental guidelines for public purchasers:www.mst.dkEcolabelling Denmarkwww.ecolabel.dkThe Danish Competition Authoritywww.ks.dkThe Danish Forest and Nature Agency, information on CITES:www.skovognatur.dk/cites/Træbranchen Oplysningsråd (Information Council for the TimberIndustry) information on the use of timber in building and construction:www.top.dkHandbook of tree species used in Denmark: WOOD 49: 52 treespecies. Træbranchens Oplysningsrådwww.top.dk»Viden om træ«. The Danish Technological Institute. Developmentcentre for furniture and wood.www.teknologisk.dkTræ er miljø, information about wood:www.trae.dkVej og Park, Copenhagen City Council, report on environmentallycertified wood for hydraulic engineering:www.vejpark.kk.dkNational Procurement Ltd. – Denmark, »vejledning i miljøhensyni udbudsforretninger« (guidelines for environmental considerationin tender transactions):www.ski.dk/groent/udbudsvaerktoej/default.htmTender guidelines from Local Government Denmark (LGDK) andthe National Agency for Enterprise and Housing:www.udbudsportalen.dkUnited Nations Forum on Forest:www.un.org/esa/forests/International Tropical Timber Organisation:www.itto.or.jpCenter for International Forestry Research:www.cifor.orgInformation on certified forests:FSC: www.fsc-info.org og www.fsc.dkMTCC: www.mtcc.com.myLEI: www.lei.or.idPEFC: www.pefc.org og www.pefc.dkKeurhout verifications: www.stichtingkeurhout.nlAbbreviations:FSC: Forest Stewardship CouncilLEI: Indonesian Ecolabeling InstituteCERFLOR: Programa de Certifica´cao de Florestas (Brasilien).SGS: Socéité Générale de SurveillanceSCS: Scientific Certification SystemMTCC: Malaysian Timber Certification CouncilIUCN: International Union on Conservation and NaturePEFC: Pan European Forest CertificationATO: African Timber OrganisationITTO: International Tropical Timber OrganisationCIFOR: Center for International Forestry ResearchCOC: Chain of CustodyPurchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines17

ChecklistPurchase of legally and sustainably produced tropical timberLegal timberDo notYes No know PartiallyDoes the producer have the necessary rights and permits to carry out the loggingin question?Is the relevant national legislation regarding forest management and environmentaland human impact in the country of origin fulfilled?Has the producer paid all relevant taxes and duties due?Are the necessary permits held, including CITES permits, if the tree species iscovered by CITES?General product requirements and environmental considerationsCan the supplier document their environmental situation (e.g. environmentalmanagement according to ISO 14001 or EMAS II)?Have written working-environment goals been formulated as part of theenvironmental management or an independent system?Does the product fulfil the requirements of the Nordic Swan eco-label?Is the product produced without organic solvents?Does the product have degasification documentation according, e.g. to DanishIndoor Climate Labelling?Yes NoDo notknow18 Purchasing Tropical Timber Tropical Timberenvironmental guidelines

Sustainably produced timberDo notYes No know PartiallyDoes the forest management meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural, andspiritual needs of present and future generations?Is the forest protected against the harmful effects of pollution, fire, pests and disease?Is the tropical timber otherwise produced in accordance with the principles laid downin the UN’s Statement on Forest Principles (Rio 1992)?Has the forest management respected and given appropriate consideration to legaland institutional frameworks, the size of the forestry resource, the health and vitalityof the forest, its production and protection functions and biodiversity, and socio-economic,cultural and spiritual assets and needs?Does the forest management otherwise fulfil the criteria and guidelines for tropicalforest management laid down by the ITTO, CIFOR or other relevant UN forestryfora?Has the standard being used been developed in a consultative process, open toparticipation by all affected parties, including financial, environmental and socialstakeholders?Is compliance with the standard being assessed by an independent third party?Checklist – how to use itSend the form to the supplier. Rememberthat the answers must be supplementedby relevant documentation,see the section: »Purchasing tropicaltimber« in the purchasing guidelines.In many cases, certification is sufficientdocumentation. In other cases, it isnecessary to obtain detailed explanationsand/or declarations from an independent,recognised third party.Purchasing Tropical Timberenvironmental Tropical guidelines Timber19

Purchasing Tropical Timber – Environmental GuidelinesThese environmental guidelines for the purchase of tropical timber have been published in 2003 by:The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Strandgade 29, 1401 København KTel. +45 32 66 01 00 • mst@mst.dk • www.mst.dk ogThe Danish Forest and Nature Agency, Haraldsgade 53, 2100 København ØTel. +45 39 47 20 00 • sns@sns.dk • www.skovognatur.dkProject coordinator: Anne Abildgaard, COWI A/S in cooperation with Valør & Tinge, NEPCon and Sall & Sall. Anadvisory steering committee and a number of external consultation parties have been involved in the process.The steering committee was made up of representatives from:The Danish Forest Association, the Danish Timber Trade Federation, Forbundet Træ-industri-Byg, Foreningenaf offentlige indkøbere, Nepenthes, National Procurement Ltd. – Denmark, Træets Arbejdsgiverforening, theDanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, WWF-Denmark, and the Danish Forest and Nature Agency (chairman).Layout: Louise Lindholst, COWI A/S, Lone Jensen, COWI A/S.Translation: GlobalDenmark a/sFurther copies of the guidelines in English can be obtained by contacting:Ministry of the Environment, Frontlinien, Rentemestervej 8, 2400 København NV.Tel. +45 7012 0211 • frontlinien@frontlinien.dk • www.frontlinien.dkThis English translation is also available in an electronic version. It can be downloaded free of charge from theabove mentioned webpages.MINISTRY OFTHE ENVIRONMENTDanish Forest and Nature AgencyDanish Environmental Protection AgencyDanish Ministry of the EnvironmentDanish Environmental Protection AgencyDanish Ministry of the Environment

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