This was the key recommendation at the recent EU Timber Trade Action Plan (TTAP) seminar in Brussels.

The event was entitled “Buying legal timber for Europe” and attended by over 50 wood products buyers, suppliers and policy makers. There were also delegates from the TTAP “partner producing countries”; Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Participants agreed that timber associations and government representatives should work together to produce clear harmonised wood legality requirements.

“On the basis of these, practical guidance for buying legal timber should be produced,” said the post-seminar press statement.

TTF head of environment and corporate social responsibility Andy Roby said that the Dutch and Danish [governments] were already committed to adopting the definition of timber legality devised by the UK’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET). It is thought the German, French and Belgian authorities may follow suit.

He added that the TTF backed procurement policy harmonisation among trade associations. “Consistency across Europe would build our buying power and influence,” he said, adding that the TTF would be willing to adapt its Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP) as part of the process.

Delegates agreed that there should also be co-ordination between trade body and EU state procurement policies and definitions of timber legality with the European Commission’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) legality licences and “legality standards” in producer countries.