Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Finnish forest industry has been working to ensure the lawful origin of imported wood. The Finnish forest industry operates in Russia in accordance with local legislation and regulations. Finland and the Finnish forest industry work actively also in the EU to prevent illegal loggings.
The Finnish forest industry verifies the origins of imported wood with certified wood tracking systems, among others. An independent third party audits the functionality of the systems. The tracking systems are based on the principle that the parties in the wood procurement chain comply with legislation of each country. The Finnish forest industry operates in Russia in accordance with local legislation and regulations.
In June 2006, Finnish Forest Industries Federation (FFIF), WWF Russia and WWF Finland have agreed on a joint statement on legal sourcing of wood. In their joint statement, the parties recognize illegal loggings as a mutual concern world wide and share a vision of international timber trade with wood procured from legal and sustainable sources only.
WWF acknowledges in the statement that wood tracking systems of the Finnish forest industry are one of the most efficient tools to support the legal sourcing of wood. In the joint statement, the Finnish forest industry has commited to contribute in development of the existing tracing systems in local participatory processes and international dialogue to better identify and exclude different kind of illegalities and to increase the transparency of the systems. WWF and FFIF have also decided to establish a working group to further develop wood tracking systems.
The Finnish forest industry has actively contributed to the work of Finnish authorities in order to implement FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade) process within EU. The EU’s FLEGT action plan contains several measures for the prevention of illegal logging. As part of the EU Presidency, Finland promotes FLEGT-process developing and preparing its implementation and by continuing a dialogue between member states and the EU Commission.
Besides the industry’s wood tracking systems, authorities of each country should develop their operating environment and legislation. The EU should concentrate strongly on promoting good corporate governance in countries that are still developing in this respect. Good corporate governance poses a challenge to society at large, not just the forest sector.
Anders Portin, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Development and Resources, Finnish Forest Industries Federation,
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