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Developing a sustainable timber purchasing policy and accompanying data gathering portal

01 januari 2020

To position timber as one of the solutions to help address climate change, and hence use the momentum to promote the use of timber, there should be no debate about responsible sourcing. For this reason, progressive Timber Trade Federations (TTFs) and other relevant organisations should encourage their members to trade timber harvested from responsibly managed forests. Sourcing from responsibly managed forests helps comply with legal requirements, like the EUTR (EU), Lacey Act (USA) and ILPA (Australia).

Some TTFs have already formulated a (sustainable) purchasing policy. This helps growing sales of timber harvested from responsibly managed forests and in turn, incentivises sustainable forest management (SFM). However, to increase impact and improve the business case of SFM, it is essential more TTFs adopt such a policy and set ambitious goals regarding sustainable timber sourcing. To this end, data of responsibly sourced timber purchased is a good key performance indicator (KPI). Members of TTFs should ideally report the data to create transparency and monitor progress. Based on these annual reports, actions can be drafted to help achieve targets set and work on continuous improvement.

Performing this kind of monitoring has added value for all actors. Companies get insight into their own development of this (major) part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), how this relates to competitors and the sector as a whole. Where appropriate, companies can also profile themselves and for those interested and performing well, companies can be highlighted as ‘distinguished traders’ at e.g. TTFs get a better view on individual companies, their CSR performance and the sector as a whole. The availability of data helps TTFs to target interventions and add value to the membership. Governments aiming to support SFM and reduce imported deforestation are keen to monitor consumption of responsibly sourced products, also for targeting interventions. If (in time) the outcome shows a high percentage originating from well managed forests, it helps to positively brand the sector and timber in general.

After a decade of work in the Netherlands with continuous monitoring, Netherlands Timber Trade Association (NTTA) members import in 2018 92% of the total import of 1.8 million m3 of softwood, hardwood and board material with a CoC-certificate for SFM (Probos, 2019). This very much helps to position timber as one of the solutions to preserve and grow the world’s forests and combat climate change.

The overall goal of the project is to support SFM in producer countries by introducing, improving and monitoring progress within sustainable purchasing policies of TTF’s in key tropical timber consuming countries in Europe, by developing a data gathering tool.

The portal can be accessed with a login via


Probos expert(s) involved: Mark van Benthem, Jan Oldenburger, Joyce Penninkhof, Bryndis Perdijk
Partners: ATIBT, Le Commerce du Bois, UK TTF and Fedustria
Client(s): IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative / European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition STTC and the Congo Basin Programme for Promotion of Certified Sustainable Forest Management (PPECF).
Year(s): 2020 - 2023


STTC Newsletter - Thémis tool tracks European sustainable timber procurement
STTC Newsletter - Data can drive verified sustainable timber procurement
ETTF Newsletter - Thémis to increase European sustainable procurement transparency