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ClientEarth Communications

22nd November 2017

Forests & trade

Lombok first UK company fined for breaching EU timber regulation

Furniture seller Lombok has become the first UK company to be fined for breaking the law that stops illegal timber accessing the UK market.

Lombok has been fined £5,000 by a criminal court for failing to check the risk of illegal timber in its supply chain (due diligence). The company had placed a sideboard on the market which was imported from India without carrying out the required due diligence assessment, breaking UK and EU law.

ClientEarth forest lawyer Diane de Rouvre said: “This decision sets an important precedent for the UK timber industry and shows the UK remains committed to the principles in the EU Timber Regulation. This effort needs to be replicated across the EU to stop illegal timber products being placed on the market.

“Authorities must act as soon as possible when companies are found to be breaking these laws, to protect consumers and companies actively abiding by the law.”

The EU Timber Regulation seeks to prevent illegally harvested timber and timber products being placed on the EU market, and requires companies to check the risk of illegality in their timber supply chains.

This is not the first time that Lombok has breached this obligation, receiving warnings and requests to take action back in 2015.

Over the past two years, a real appetite for stronger EUTR enforcement has emerged in some EU countries. Authorities in Sweden and the Netherlands have imposed fines on companies for breaching the EUTR, and another recent case sees teak importers facing sanctions in the Netherlands.