NEW YORK --

Within the past year, almost 30 companies located in 10 countries have teamed up with the Rainforest Alliance to achieve legality verification for their wood products.

That number is certain to grow measurably as the European Union takes steps to ban illegal timber sales.

“Legality is becoming a new basic quality factor for timber products on the world’s strongest consumer markets for wood products. The European Union has decided to ban illegal timber trade, following the example set by the U.S. Lacey Act," said Program Manager Christian Sloth. "Companies are now beginning to learn how to play by the new rules in order to stay on the market and avoid severe penalties in future."

The Malaysian Yayasan Sabah Group recently upgraded its existing Rainforest Alliance verification to Verification of Legal Compliance (VLC), which Rainforest Alliance calls its "gold standard." The move was prompted by demands from one of the world's largest tropical timber traders, DLH.

In another instance, the Indonesian branch of Scancom, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture, recently went through Rainforest Alliance legality verification
 
“The demand for legal and sustainably verified products is increasing rapidly. If we are not proactive in responding to these types of changes, we will lose our competitiveness,” said Charlotte Korn, PT ScanCom Indonesia’s managing director.

“Timber legality verification helps companies to meet the EU Due Diligence and the U.S. Lacey Act requirements. This is the key reason why we see these growing demands,, Christian Sloth said. “Traders on the EU and U.S. markets need to take several actions to show due care. Many operators will need to focus much more on supply chain risk assessment and management. We provide customized services to organizations that want to improve their forest-product purchasing practices and establish a legal, traceable and sustainable supply chain."

Read the Rainforest Alliance's press release. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.