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LIFE LEGAL WOOD: Enabling Effective Implementation and Enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation in 6 Key Timber Importing Countries

01 januari 2020

The EUTR came into effect in 2013, making it illegal to place timber on the EU market if it was illegal in country of harvest, and requiring companies to implement due diligence measures to reduce the risk of illegal timber entering the EU. The LIFE Legal Wood project aims to further strengthen implementation of the EUTR.


The EUTR Implementation Report (2016) noted challenges to effective implementation, including:

  • Overall compliance by private sector remains uneven and insufficient
  • Main impediments to Due Diligence (DD) systems include difficulties to understand all elements needed, gathering information on applicable legislation in producer countries, and appropriate risk assessment and mitigation measures
  • Current levels of capacity and resources allocated to Competent Authorities (CAs) does not match with need

A report summarizing EUTR checks by CAs from June-Nov 2017 shows that 40% of timber importing operators did not have appropriate due diligence systems in place, compared to only 8% of domestic operators. The report “reveals a huge disparity between how countries monitor operators placing imported timber on the EU market. Some countries importing significant quantities of tropical high-risk timber are carrying out very few checks on companies. Such disparity creates a loophole, whereby companies know they will face minimal or no checks in some countries. The only way to close this loophole is by ensuring adequate enforcement across the EU.” (, "Uneven EUTR enforcement creates loophole for illegal timber")

Research from Forest Trends found that EU timber imports from conflict countries, which are at high risk of being illegal, have increased 14 percent, and have been rising steadily in at least 12 EU MSs since 2010 (Forest Trends, 2018).


The LIFE Legal Wood project, a project supported by the EU LIFE Programme, aims to create a higher level of implementation of the EUTR among the EU's thousands of SMEs and to help them make risk assessment and due dilligence an integral constructive element within their business and administrative systems to comply with the requirements of the EUTR 

For more information on the project, click here. 


To reduce illegal logging and improve sustainable forest management globally through improved compliance, monitoring and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation among key duty holders.


  1. To increase capacity among key stakeholders to understand, comply with, monitor, and enforce the EUTR requirements, especially those regulating imported timber in EU countries where the highest impact can be made.
  2. To improve efficiency and effectiveness in EUTR compliance, monitoring and enforcement among key stakeholders through increased availability and quality of free information about legality risks for imported timber.
  3. To increase awareness of key stakeholders regarding the availability of free information and resources regarding imported timber risks to enable better EUTR compliance.

The project will focus activities on the 6 EU countries with the highest volumes of timber imports, including high risk tropical timber: Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Netherlands.

The project will be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. In the Netherlands e.g. the goal is to focus activities on sectors which lack behind in awareness and compliance of the EUTR.


Probos expert(s) involved: Mark van Benthem, Jan Oldenburger, Jasprina Kremers
Partners: NEPCon (project coordinator), FORESNA, Amfori, CESEFOR, Le Commerce du Bois, Baskegur, Conlegno, GD Holz, Etifor SRL and the Competent Authorities of Germany, Belgium and Spain
Client(s): EU LIFE2018
Year(s): 2019 - 2022