- Europe's new Illegal Timber Law will hurt North American hardwood goods businesses, says the American Hardwood Export Council.

The group hopes to combat misconceptions in the law with a wood life-cycle analysis study announced today at the Interzum 2011 woodworking show in Cologne, Germany.

Michael Snow, executive director of AHEC, says Europe is moving to adopt what he thinks is a flawed U.S. Green Building standard, one that values wood as environmentally friendly only if it is FSC certified.

"The game has changed. The environmental story is much more than certification," says Snow. "Unfortunately, we see policies buying into this," he said, referring to the Illegal Timber Law. That law, which takes effect in March 2013, requires "EU operators selling timber and timber products for the first time on the EU market . . .will need to know whether they come from the EU or are imported - and will need to know where their timber is from."

AHEC has retained PE International to conduct a wood products Life Cycle Analysis - a study that measures the environmental impact of wood products, from harvest through manufacture, use and retirement. AHEC expects the "cradle to grave" study of hardwoods to confirm that wood is superior to other products when its total environmental impact is weighed.

AHEC represents U.S. hardwood exporting companies and other major hardwood product trade associations. Based in Washington, DC, it has offices in near key hardwood markets in London, Osaka, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Shanghai. are strategically located near key hardwood market, promoting U.S. hardwood lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring, molding, and dimension materials.

U.S. hardwood group hits EU Illegal Timber Law at Interzum
Executive director Mike Snow (left) and environmental consultant Rupert Oliver of the American Hardwood Export Council listen as  Adolph Merl (right) of PE International explains today at Interzum the life cycle analysis study his organization will conduct for the AHEC.

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