Strasbourg / Brussels – WWF has welcomed today’s decision by the European Parliament to support strict rules to eliminate illegally harvested wood from the European market.
Based on today’s vote all companies in the wood supply chain will have to provide information about the source of the products they trade in the EU, one of the main markets for wood products. This will contribute to stop trade of illegally harvested wood and related products.
“Illegal logging is a major culprit for the increasing destruction of precious tropical forests and takes away a valuable source of income from local communities,” says Anke Schulmeister, Forests Policy Officer at WWF. “As a major producer and importer of timber, the EU has a key role to play for preservation of forests worldwide. It is only fair that companies are requested to install systems proving that the timber they sell is legal, respect the environment and the rights of local people. This must go together with adequate sanctions.”
Worldwide, approximately 13 million hectares of natural forest, particularly in the tropical area, are lost every year. The urgency for a strong European law is further demonstrated by the increasing demand for wood and wood products. According to recent UN data, demand for paper products in Europe is expected to increase by 80% by 2030.
The debate on a timber law for Europe started more than five years ago and has now reached its crucial phase. WWF urges the EU Agriculture Council, meeting in June in Luxembourg, to support the EU Parliament’s position and vote on a strong legislation to stop trade of illegal timber. If adopted in June, new measures should come into force in 2010/2011.
(C) André Bärtschi / WWF CANON
Notes to the editors
– A recent WWF and FoE survey carried out with citizens from 14 countries, shows that: 93% of EU polled citizens think it is important that wood and wood based products sold in Europe are legally harvested and traded; 92% think it is important that a EU timber law is introduced and 75% of people don’t believe or don’t know whether nearly all wood products available in Europe are legally harvested and traded.
– UN report “State of the World’s Forest 2009” – WWF report estimates that 16-19 per cent of wood imports in the European Union in 2006 came from illegal sources – between 26.5 and 31 million cubic meters.
– This press release and related material is available on www.panda.org/eu
Anke Schulmeister, WWF Forest Policy Officer
Tel. +32 (0) 2 740 09 22, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefania Campogianni, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel.+32 (0)2 743 88 15, mob. +32 (0)499 539736, Mob: +32 (0) 499 539736, email: email@example.com