The EU timber regulation (EUTR) has been in place for five years this month. The law aims to prevent illegal timber from entering the EU market and requires companies to check the risk of illegal timber products in their supply chains.
If companies fail to do this, EU countries must apply penalties which are “effective, proportionate and dissuasive”, according to the law.
New ClientEarth analysis takes a closer look at what this means and whether authorities apply this standard properly.
A recent case in Sweden shows that the EUTR can bite. The courts imposed a fine of approximately 79,500 euros on a company that had not complied with the EUTR, after they failed to assess the risk of illegality in its supply chain.
We believe this is the biggest fine that has been ordered under the EUTR and should become a benchmark for enforcement across Europe.
Timber companies must be aware that non-compliance is more costly than compliance, if the EUTR is enforced properly.
But we found that current EUTR enforcement is not effective enough. Authorities generally prefer softer approaches over ‘hard enforcement’ or, warnings over fines.
Our analysis, based on what public information is available, concludes that authorities need to increase the transparency around EUTR enforcement and significantly step up enforcement.
The EUTR will only be able to fulfil its potential if it works in a transparent and effective way. This will ensure companies stop putting illegal timber products on the EU market