Greenpeace and B&Q back EU illegal timber ban

Illegal timber is set to be banned in the EU from 2012 under an agreement reached by EU member states.

EU parliament voted 644-25 in favour of the legislation, paving the way for the new rules to come into effect from 2012.

The regulations still need to be rubber stamped by the European Council of member states.

The new rules will close a loophole that has made it possible for European firms to import and sell timber that has been logged illegally in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

According to WWF, the trade is worth up to £700m a year with up to a fifth of timber imported into the EU alleged to come from illegal sources.

Under the new regulations, all companies importing and selling timber in the EU will be required to demonstrate that they have exercised adequate due diligence to ensure their timber has been felled legally.

Greenpeace forest campaigner Ian Duff said: "This new law is a great step towards closing the trade in illegal timber into Europe. It promises to level the playing field so that customers no longer have to rely on the good will of a few legitimate companies committed to acting sustainably."

B&Q said the decision will level the playing field within the retail sector and help ensure the preservation of the world’s forests.  

B&Q currently sells more than 13,000 different products made from wood such as garden furniture and was a  founding partner of the standard of timber certification, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). It has increased the volume of responsibly sourced timber to 90%, up from 74% two years ago.

Kingfisher and B&Q chief executive Euan Sutherland said: "We’ve been leading the industry with our responsible timber sourcing policies for many years and are able to trace the origin of our timber products right to the tree in the forest that it came from. This means our customers can be assured they are buying responsibly sourced timber and we are currently talking to them about how we can make it easier for them to understand this."

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