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The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) places an obligation on operators to exercise due diligence to prevent illegally harvested timber or timber products entering the EU market. A correct understanding and implementation of this key obligation is essential to the effectiveness of the EUTR.
Yet, over two years after the EUTR and its due diligence obligation came into effect, its application is often still seen as a challenge. Part of this challenge comes from an apparent uncertainty around the detail of what operators need to do to meet their due diligence.
This document seeks to inform operators and other parties involved in implementing the EUTR and clarify areas of confusion on the various elements of the due diligence obligation, and on how the due diligence obligation works. This document will first outline the relevance of a due diligence approach to timber legality, before shedding light on two seemingly conflicting elements of the EUTR's due diligence system: a fixed framework for assessing the legality of timber and timber products, and a flexible system for risk assessment and mitigation processes.