Potential Causes of the Contraction of the Demand for FSC certified Tropical Timber in the European Union

dc.contributor.authorKarsenty, A.
dc.contributor.authorLemaitre, S.
dc.contributor.authorDessard, H.
dc.titlePotential Causes of the Contraction of the Demand for FSC certified Tropical Timber in the European Unionen
dcterms.abstractDuring the "Forum International sur le développement durable de la filière bois du Bassin du Congo" held in Brazzaville in October 2013, several concessionaires exporting both unprocessed and processed timber in Europe mentioned a drop in their certified tropical timber sales towards Europe in the last 12 months. Major players of the timber industry and timber syndicates operating in Central Africa stated that this contraction of certified tropical timber demand is a drawback effect of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) which entered into application on 3 March 2013. The hypothesis expressed publicly and recurrently reiterated is that EU timber importers and retailers would think that the enforcement of the EUTR would give most of their clients a sufficient guarantee about the presumable legality of the timber they import. If a potential drawback of the EUTR was confirmed, it would have negative consequences since it is generally acknowledged that the FSC certification plays a positive role in leading concessionaires to be in compliance with legal rules and foster some kind of self-regulation as the companies invested for obtaining a label which would be costly to lose during a negative audit. From a statistical stand point, the European Union (EU) consumed around a quarter of the volume of tropical timber emerging on the international market in 2007 while in 2013, this proportion was reduced to about 10%. Nevertheless, several factors could explain this contraction, in particular the economic crisis of 2008 with consumers less willing to pay a higher cost for tropical timber. Therefore, in order to determine whether the EUTR negatively impacted the demand for FSC certified tropical timber, the European Forest Institute FLEGT Facility asked CIRAD to lead a research study on the potential causes of the contraction of the demand for FSC certified tropical timber in the European Union. The study was conducted over a period of 6 months (April – October 2014). The present report introduces the main findings of the research study based on the interviews conducted. Inasmuch as the EUTR had been entered into application for a year when the research study started, further researches should be conducted in the coming months with the benefit of hindsight.en
dcterms.accessRightsOpen access
dcterms.bibliographicCitationKarsenty, A., Lemaitre, S., Dessard, H., 2014. Potential causes of the contraction of the demand for FSC certified tropical timber in the European Union. Report, CIRAD.en
dcterms.typeMarket Survey
fsc.evidenceCategoryFSC impact-related
fsc.focus.forestTypeNatural Forest
fsc.issue.economicDemand and supply
fsc.issue.economicStakeholder preferences
fsc.topic.politicalEU Timber Regulation
is.availability.fullTextFull text available
is.contributor.funderTypePublic funds (government, EU funding, public research grants)
is.contributor.memberForest Stewardship Council
is.evaluation.collectionInterviews/surveys with informants/experts
is.evaluation.dataSourceNational Statistics - national government data
is.evaluation.quotesWith the entry into application of the EUTR, some importers have adopted an “opportunistic”behaviour (“I replace FSC certified tropical timber by non-FSC certified timber”) using the fact thatwith the EUTR, consumers feel that there is no more problem of illegality for imported tropicaltimber in Europe. Sometimes these behaviors are motivated by the price of FSC certification (they donot want to pay more) but also by problems of unavailability of FSC timber in due quantities andtime. These strategies are mostly focused in the southern Europe, where the issue of price is themost sensitive and where environmental awareness is the lowest.
is.evaluation.quotesMoreover, in areas where both FSC and non-FSC certified tropical timber is offered, the tendency goes towards buying non-FSC certified tropical timber except when customers specifically request FSC certified tropical timber. It is worth noticing the irritation of several importers vis-à-vis the FSC (“they dictate us how to do”), and their will to get
is.evaluation.quotes"In fact, it was noted by bothFrench importers and the UK timber trade federation that “northern markets” (i.e. where theeconomic crisis is less acute) are more sensitized to social and environmental issues and aretherefore ready to pay a higher price for certified timber while in “southern markets” (i.e. whereeconomic difficulties, especially in building, are stronger) these aspects are not well marketed.Additionally, public markets for certified timbers are willing to pay the price premium associated toFSC, while private buyers are more and more reluctant to do so (especially in countries where theeconomic crisis is felt in building activities). In sum, the hypothesis tested - EUTR as a disincentive forbuying FSC certified tropical timber - would be only marginally confirmed (so far) in countries wherethe market is depressed (and where price is one of the first criteria), but not in countries withresilient timber markets and significant public purchasing policies for certified timber."
is.evidenceSubTypeMonitoring report - collective
is.evidenceTypeMonitoring report
is.focus.productsTimber products
is.focus.sdgSDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption
is.focus.sustainIssueConsumers and supply chains
is.focus.sustainLensLegality and due diligence
is.focus.sustainOutcomeSustainable sourcing
is.focus.systemElementMandE outcomes and impacts
is.focus.systemElementMandE performance monitoring
is.identifier.schemeNameForest Stewardship Council
is.identifier.schemeTypeVoluntary Sustainability Standards