The UK government has proposed to introduce a new law to prohibit large business operating in the UK from using products that are from illegally deforested land as per local laws. Businesses that fail to carry out due diligence on their supply chains and make that information public would face fines. This proposed legislation will be on consultation for six weeks. Critics say that the proposal is flawed partly because the local laws on forest protections might be absent or have loopholes.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
With lots of emphasis laid on the environmental matters, social and anti-corruption matters gain insufficient attention. Evidence shows that current transparency and voluntary regimes are not yielding strong human rights due diligence by companies. Europe’s leadership in the next year on human rights and environmental due diligence legislation has never been more needed.
Early December, over 100 NGOs, trade unions and networks stress their demands for binding rules on corporate respect for human rights and the environment. They point out that although some companies are taking actions to meet their responsibilities in their global operations, there are many others linked to serious abuses, including modern slavery, gender discrimination, corruption, deforestation, etc. Current EU policy and legislation fails to adequately address this challenge. They propose that 1) companies and investors are required to carry out human rights andenvironmental due diligence; 2) new binding EU legislation that increases protection for individuals and communities, workers and their representatives, human rights defenders, and the environment, is passed.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resource of Australia has decided that certified businesses are required to maintain an equivalent due diligence system under PEFC Chain of Custody standard, and also AFS (Australia’s PEFC-endorsed national forest certification system), which means that PEFC-certified companies in Australia are now recognized as automatically meeting the due diligence requirements in the illegal logging regulation of Australia, and no separate due diligence system prepared for the illegal logging regulation specifically is not required.
PEFC Italy, along with Conlegno, RiSSC, Risk Monitor and CNVP have launched a project aimed at preventing criminal organizations infiltrating into the EU timber market. The TREES project (Timber Regulation Enforcement to protect European wood Sector from criminal infiltration) aims at promoting standard procedures to prevent the risks of criminal infiltrations into the European market. By the end of the project, a standardized set of guidelines, actions and strategies to overcome difficulties in Due Diligence implementation will be developed, providing market operators with suggestions on how to carry out risk assessments and risk procedures.
A new paper by Chatham House and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has found that timber harvested illegally in Africa, Asia and Latin America continues to be sold on world markets, despite international efforts to curb the trade. Experts say that the EUTR and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are complementary. However, there is a lack of coordination between the agencies involved in enforcing the rules of the two systems. One of the biggest loopholes identified is that both CITES- and FLEGT-licenced timber is exempt from the due diligence requirements under the EUTR, so fraudulent paperwork could escape scrutiny.
This article explains how FSC certification can help to increase the levels of trust in due diligence systems. FSC material is recognised as carrying a low (negligible) risk if the FSC certificate is valid; the material in question is covered by the scope of the certificate; and that there is access to the required information.