Back to top

A Guide to the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR)

Introduction 

Image result for furniture industry research associationThis guide has been produced by the Furniture Industry Research Association on behalf of the British Contract Furnishings Association.

This document is a simplified guide to the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). It does not replace any legislative documents that are available and is simply additional information to help achieve compliance. As such, the Regulation and relevant supporting documentation (details of which can be found at the end of this document) must also be understood.

All efforts have been made to ensure this document is correct at the time of going to press. The opinions and advice expressed are given in good faith. However, the authors cannot be held responsible for any action resulting from the content of this guide as the ultimate interpretation of the regulation rests with the courts. Where serious doubt occurs professional legal opinion should be sought.

Case Study 

"Company fined for failure to check product was made from legally-harvested timberCompany fined for failure to check product was made from legally-harvested timber"

Designer furniture retailer Lombok has become the first business to be fined for breaching regulations introduced in 2013 to prohibit the importing and sale of illegally harvested timber.

On 25 October 2017 at Westminster Magistrates Court, Angora 2011 Limited, trading as Lombok was convicted and fined £5,000 plus costs after pleading guilty at the first hearing.

The company failed to exercise the required due diligence when placing an artisan sideboard on the market, imported on 1 June 2016 from India.

A previous breach of the relevant regulations had earlier been identified and led to a Notice of Remedial Action being served on Lombok on 28 April 2015; this was followed by a warning letter dated 7 October 2015 when the company failed to comply with the notice.

On 20 October 2016, officers visited Lombok’s central London showroom and found the required due diligence checks had not been made for an artisan sideboard for sale that had been imported from India.

When convicting the company District Judge stated these offences are “important”, addressing environmental concerns, biodiversity concerns, and public confidence that companies do not endanger those. Companies are required to mitigate the risk of illegal logging. Lombok had failed to exercise due diligence when importing the artisan sideboard, with their previous failures an aggravating feature, though in mitigation they had reacted proactively.

Taking into account their mitigation and credit for an early guilty plea, Lombok was fined £5,000, plus a victim surcharge of £170 and prosecution costs of £2,951. The total of £8,121 was ordered to be paid within 28 days.

Mike Kearney, Head of Regulatory Delivery Enforcement, said:

‘The Government’s Regulatory Delivery team will take action against businesses that persistently, deliberately or recklessly fail to meet their legal obligations.

‘Lombok failed to change their practises in response to our advice and so, given the impact of illegal logging, a criminal prosecution was appropriate. I am pleased that Lombok is now improving its supply chain monitoring.’

This prosecution was brought by the Insolvency Service Criminal Enforcement Team on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Regulatory Delivery team.

The Regulation

Launched in October 2010 as Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament, the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force in March 2013. The aim of the EUTR is to prevent illegally harvested wood from being placed 1onto the market within the European Union.

The Regulation covers a wide range of timber products listed in its Annex using EU Customs code nomenclature. In order to counter illegally harvested timber and timber products entering the EU market the Regulation places three key obligations on those that trade:

1. It prohibits the placing on the EU market for the first time of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber;
2. It requires those that place timber products on the EU market for the first time to exercise 'due diligence';

Once on the market, the timber and timber products may be sold on and/or transformed before they reach the final consumer. To facilitate the traceability of timber products economic operators in this part of the supply chain (referred to as traders in the Regulation) have an obligation to keep records of their suppliers and customers.

Click here to read the full guide