Despite NGO claims that there is illegal wood in the supply chain, there has been no EUTR prosecution in the UK. The simple explanation for this is that the UK trade took a worldclass approach to tackling illegal logging and demonstrating the fact long ago. And playing a key role in that has been the TTF Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP).

The RPP is a robust due diligence (DD) tool, which buttresses the work of certification schemes like FSC and PEFC, and was the world’s first fully implemented DD system. Once we’d developed the tools, we made DD a membership condition. That was 2008, five years before the EUTR enshrined in law the exercise of DD on timber products ‘first placed’ in the EU.

So one reason we’ve had no prosecutions is because the trade, and certainly TTF members, have been undertaking due diligence for some years; demonstrating it, and learning how best to manage risk out of business.

An important second reason for the absence of prosecutions is the NMO’s approach. When appointed, the UK EUTR Competent Authority took time to understand the trade, the RPP and approaches to measuring, managing and mitigating risk. The RPP is better as a result, as is members’ risk management.

However, prosecutions will inevitably come. The NMO knows where the skeletons are hidden and we will work with it to ensure they prosecute successfully. I make no apologies for that. This trade’s reputation on legality has placed us at the top table with all stakeholders from government to customer to NGO. They listen because we speak from a position of strength. We have a membership and trade that does what is necessary to ensure wood and wood products live up to the sustainability billing we give them. This is far too important, not least in commercial terms, to allow the cavalier or criminal to jeopardise.