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2013 Assessment Findings

The United Kingdom has continued to show a strong response to the problem of illegal logging and related trade.

The government played an active part in the development of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan and has subsequently been supporting the negotiation and implementation of voluntary partnership agreements with producer countries. The government has also been providing a significant amount of funding to initiatives aimed at tackling the trade in illegal timber and improving forest governance.

The private sector in the UK has also been proactive, as reflected in the increase in the number of companies with chain-of-custody certification and in the amount of certified wood-based products on the UK market. A high level of media coverage of illegal logging also indicates that there is widespread awareness of this issue.

This response is thought to be partly responsible for the decline in imports into the UK of timber-sector products likely to be illegal, currently estimated to comprise three per cent of the total. There has been a shift in the types and sources of high-risk products coming into the UK; a growing proportion are more highly processed products such as furniture, and are imported from China.

2010 Assessment Findings

The UK’s imports of illegally-sourced wood products fluctuated between 2000 and 2008, but had dropped by 7% across this period. The country had imported more illegal wood products per capita than the US, France, China or Vietnam. Over half of these had come via third-party processing countries.

The UK had scored highest of the five consumer countries studied in an assessment of laws, regulations and policies necessary to tackle illegal logging. It was the first country to implement a government wood procurement policy and this had helped to drive action within the private sector. The assessment had found the industry association codes of conduct to be rigorous, and that a high proportion of companies had chain-of-custody certification.

The government had been a strong supporter of European legislation to prevent the import and sale of illegal wood and had also been actively involved in developing voluntary partnership agreements between the EU and producer countries.