Under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 (the Regulation), businesses who import regulated timber products or who process Australian-grown logs are required to have a documented due diligence system.
This system sets out the process the business will use to minimise the risk that the timber products they import or process have been illegally logged.
The department (The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources) has recently updated its series of fact sheets about illegal logging laws, including Information for importers and Information for businesses exporting to Australia.
The department’s fact sheets and guidance documents have also been produced in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysia, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese to assist importers with communicating the illegal logging requirements to their suppliers.
Two major incidents of illegal logging have recently made their way into the media. One in Brazil, the other from Cameroon. We summarise as follows:
1. Brazil – Authorities in Brazil have dismantled the country’s largest illegal logging organisation. Arrest warrants were issued after a three-year criminal investigation into the illegal logging ring, which is responsible for the deforestation of around 10 000 hectares of Amazon jungle.
2. Cameroon – UK authorities have taken action against 14 companies sourcing timber from Cameroon linked to illegal logging. Official sanctions will apply to the companies if they fail to meet the terms laid out by the authorities charged with enforcing the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
Under the EUTR, companies importing timber into Europe must have measures in place to minimise the risk that the wood they’re buying is sourced from illegal operations, including having paperwork to demonstrate the legality of the timber all the way back to the point of harvest.
Importers of regulated timber products must ensure that they are completing full due diligence on all imports.
Source: The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources