Illegal Logging Legislation
The Australian Government's illegal logging legislation (Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011) has been passed by the House of Representatives but its debate in the Senate has been delayed by other priorities. In the mean a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL alleges that illegal logging accounts for 15-30 per cent of forestry in the tropics and is worth $30-100 billion worldwide.
While debate over the extent, nature and best mechanism for addressing illegal logging continues, purchasing or specifying only wood and paper products certified under a credible forest certification scheme (such as AFS or PEFC) is the best way for companies and consumers to avoid illegally logged material and to meet due diligence obligations. The PEFC Chain of Custody (CoC) Working Group confirmed in its last meeting that PEFC CoC certification will satisfy information needs of legislative and regulatory processes such as the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the US Lacy Act.
Appropriate requirements will be built into PEFC's Due Diligence System (DDS), which is an integral part of the CoC standards and therefore a mandatory element in CoC certification. At the same point in time, the PEFC DDS is available as a stand-alone mechanism, offering companies that are not prepared or eligible to obtain full PEFC CoC certification with a tool to demonstrate compliance with EUTR.
The revised PEFC Chain of Custody Standard with the modified DDS is scheduled to be approved by PEFC in February 2013. The Australian Chain of Custody Standard (AS4707) will need to be reviewed to ensure it aligns with the PEFC standard.