TTAP a success to build on

The Timber Trade Action Plan (TTAP) succeeded in its objectives to promote legality verification in ten timber and wood product suppliers to Europe. It also provided valuable support to producers progressing towards Voluntary Partnership Agreements under the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade initiative (FLEGT). But the industry now needs to consolidate its work and take it forward.

This is the verdict of TTAP’s concluding report, written at the end of its eight-year programme.

The initiative, started in 2005, was managed by the TFT and its partners backed by the ETTF, Netherlands Timber Trade Federation (VVNH), UK Timber Trade Federation, Belgian Timber Importers Federation (BFHI), and Le Commerce du Bois (LCB) of France.

The aim was to “provide training and technical support to build legality verification capacity of European buyers and their timber suppliers in Africa, Asia, and South America, and promote it as a means to demonstrate tropical forest management”.

The project engaged suppliers in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Guyana and Suriname, undertaking supply chain gap assessments to ensure their capacity to demonstrate legality claims. Where these found shortcomings, action plans were put in place to rectify them and, following implementation, these were externally audited against legality standards. Help was also provided in demonstrating legality assurances to European customers.

In total 234 assessments, 157 action plans, and 111 third party supply chain verifications were completed. The outcome was76 legally verified supply chains across the ten target countries. The original goal was 70. In the process over 3.9 million hectares of  forest was legally verified and 12,500 staff trained.
According to the report, the focus on legality  brought by the programme, also produced wider environmental and social benefits in target countries.

Achieving legally verified supply chains also produced commercial benefits for both suppliers and their European customers, helping strengthen brands and maintain market access. In some cases, said TTAP, this may prompt their progression to certification.

The report concludes that the industry should learn from and build on TTAP’s achievements; in particular in establishing closer collaboration between suppliers and buyers in legality verification to meet EUTR requirements and promoting the timber trade. It also urges other industries to take a lead from the timber sector, and the FLEGT initiative, to minimise their adverse forest impacts.  

For the full report: