Commission moots EU timber certification move

EU action to "complement" European forest industries initiative suggested

The European Commission is to consider proposing minimum EU standards for sustainable forestry certification, leading to a possible EU logo that would appear on forest products from sustainably managed sources. The suggestion appears in a draft EU forest strategy, published today by the Commission. The paper acknowledges recent moves by the European forestry and forest industry associations to create a pan-European certification framework (ENDS Daily 28 October) and says it will look at this and consider "possible complementary action at EC level". This could include "a legal instrument laying down essential requirements for voluntary certification and labelling initiatives," leading to an EU logo. The idea is one of the few new ideas contained within a paper that mainly summarises existing EU policies that affect forests, such as the Common Agricultural Policy and anti-pollution measures. The strategy stresses the economic importance of forestry in the EU, where it directly employs 2.2m people and produces Ecu300bn-worth of products a year. But it also points out that forests are important for biodiversity and says that the Commission will present proposals for action on forest biodiversity if a review of the situation shows this to be necessary. The paper also highlights the need for the EU to help eastern European countries queuing to join the EU to protect their forests.

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