EU governance in relation to elimination of illegal logging in Russia

26.5.2015 at 12:46

Maxim Trishkin

Governance issues in European Union have been gradually developing in relation to illegal logging since 1990s. Recently published article in MDPI Forests journal investigate the impacts of EU policies with recently enforced EU Timber Directive 995 on Russian suppliers. The study investigates a company’s due diligence system (DDS) as an operational tool to ensure the origin of wood coming from northwestern Russia to European markets mainly through Finland. The company exports a major part of wood products to European Union (EU) countries, and its DDS consists of a statement of origin, geographical information, and field verification audits. Enforcement of the EUTR began in March 2013 and since then is obligatory for all the companies importing wood material from outside of the EU. The DDS must contain 3 main components: access to information on operator’s supply of timber or timber products placed on the market, a risk assessment, and a risk mitigation method. Russia as country of raw material at the same time is a potential threat and opportunity. When it comes to a threat Russia is a highly corrupted country according to statistics of Transparency International and in spite of geographical proximity to Europe is having corruption perception index close to mean value in Africa, so it creates a lot of bottlenecks in law enforcement inside the country and all the other related issues. As a direct consequence of low level of law enforcement the illegal logging is common fact, with variation in frequencies in different parts of the country. Thus, according to the World Widelife Fund (WWF) Russia and the World Bank estimate that up to 20% of extracted wood is illegal in average, reaching up to 50% in Siberia and the Russian Far East. The existence of illegal logging raises concerns of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other interested parties of inefficient forest management and overexploitation. In some regions of Russia overexploitation exceeds 70% of annual allowable harvesting level. At the same time Russia is important supplier of wood raw material to EU countries and holds over 20% of world’s forest resources. However its share in the world forest products trade is below 4%. Roundwood and semi-processed sawn wood comprise up to 54% of its wood exports, which is equivalent of about 70-90 mln m3 annually. Thus, the importance of traceability of Russian wood origin in EU context could not be neglected, since about 25% of Russian export is delivered to European countries. The full set of requirement of the standards developed by the Nature Ecology and People Consult (NepCon), a non-profit organization recognized as the monitoring organization by the European Commission was tested in the company management practices. This DDS system showed high functionality of its existing components corresponding with the general requirements. The results of the study in my opinion could be a useful case study for benchmarking of good practices in the company and promoting sustainable business elsewhere.

The link to the article is provided below:

tag_blue illegal logging, EU, Russia, sustainability, forest governance, EUTR



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Maxim Trishkin

Maxim Trishkin


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