WWF has enlisted corporations to pressure the EU to tighten laws on illegal timber
M&S, Argos, Kingfisher and Homebase are among 20 British businesses to have put their name to a petition calling on European Union policymakers to tighten rules on forest-based imports. Environment group WWF, which is behind the lobbying efforts, is calling on the EU to close loopholes that are allowing illegal and unsustainable logging to persist.
The failure of the current EU Timber Regulation to explicitly cover everyday objects such as chairs, printed materials and musical instruments means that up to 59% of timber imports into the EU, by value, are possibly contributing to deforestation. “The interpretation of the Customs Code has meant that a host of products are simply not covered,” says Julia Young, manager of WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network in the UK.
WWF believes that adding a business voice to its campaign to tighten timber import rules (which came into force in March 2013) will cause policymakers to see this as an economic, as well as an environmental, issue. “From a business perspective, we need to make sure that the agenda is not just about legal compliance, but is tied to a strong economic case as well,” says Young.