TFT Woodexperts Blog
FLEGT In Control
It’s a little over a year since the first-ever shipment of FLEGT-licensed wood products landed in Britain. It was Indonesian, Diamond-Marked Quality Certified plywood; and was a triumph for all those involved, as well as the culmination of several years’ work by the Indonesian authorities.
FLEGT - pronounced ‘FLEG-TEA’ - stands for Forest Law Enforcement Governance & Trade. It’s the EU’s unique licensing system for supporting producer communities worldwide, to assist both exporters ans importers to meet the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) requirement for legally-sourced timber imports into the EU. FLEGT licensing is designed to combat illegal logging and eliminate fraudulent documentation; it also helps to develop better forest management practices. It improves outcomes for many producer communities, by promoting trade in legally harvested timber, and is a good step along the road to full sustainability.
TFT Woodexperts Limited played its own valuable part in this first-ever FLEGT-licensed plywood shipment, through its Diamond Mark factory production control (FPC) Quality Certification. Whilst FPCs are an established tenet amongst many European manufacturing companies, their application in relation to other overseas timber and plywood supply chains is a much more recent development – and all to the good.
The Woodexperts Diamond Mark ensures rigorous procedural checking at each stage throughout the production process and it requires additional, ongoing product sampling and testing in the UK. In addition to Indonesian FLEGT-licensed plywood, the Woodexperts Diamond Mark can be found on other wood-based products, for example on Northern European and
Scandinavian roofing battens produced for the UK market. The production
processes are of course entirely different, but assuring the continuing rigour of
production quality of each of those processes is where the Diamond Mark can add
significantly to the reputation of both product and supplier.
The EU accounts for 33% of Indonesia’s tropical timber exports by value*, and Britain in particular is a key market for Indonesian plywood. The Indonesian government worked very closely with the EU to reach this point, where it can now issue trustworthy documentation for each shipment of FLEGT-licensed products. It was the first country to begin shipping such licensed plywood to Britain. Other countries that export tropical timber products to the EU are poised to follow, over the next year or two.
Recently the Timber Trade Federation, in conjunction with the Built Environment Trust and many sponsors, including the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme of Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Indonesian Embassy in London, have been hosting an exhibition called ‘Timber Transformer’ at London’s Building Centre in Store Street. This participation shows just how energetically and sincerely the Indonesians have approached the need to make changes in forest management and governance; and their forest products producers’ supply chain tracking systems.
For TFT Woodexperts to be a part of this immensely beneficial process for the worldwide timber industry, via our Diamond Mark production certification, makes us very proud. No doubt many of the other producer countries working towards FLEGT will also take similarly detailed control of their supply chains and expand their export markets through valid and appropriate certification and licensing.
23 April 2018