Chinese Plywood Project

Improving the quality standard of plywood

The Timber Trade Federation is working on a project to overcome issues relating to the quality, performance and sustainability of plywood from China, with auditing having previously revealed the mislabeling of both species and glues in the Declarations of Performance of some products.

 

By tracing the supply chain to improve the auditing process and factory training in China, we are aiming to improve these processes and ensure that certified timber can go through the factories and be appropriately labelled for entry into the UK.

Wood Boards

Background to the project

Plywood is a product that potentially represents an area of high risk, due to complex supply chains and mixed species used in production, and China accounts to over 50% of tropical plywood imports into the UK.

 

The decisions to embark on the project was taken based on a series of review on Chinese plywood products by UK Competent Authority and TTF respectively between 2015 and 2017. High level of failure was found concerning species misdeclaration. Sample of glue bond tests by TTF also confirmed high level of mismatch of the actual product for structural plywood and glue bond declaration specified on the product’s Declaration of Performance (DoP).

A recap on what has happened

2015: Issue uncovered by the UK Competent Authority
UK Competent Authority investigation of plywood products imported from China into the UK. High level of failure found concerning species misdeclaration and shortcomings in importer’s due diligence procedure.
2016/17: TTF study shows mismatches on Declaration of Performance
TTF study on Chinese Plywood samples. High level of mismatch on glue bond declarations found on the product’s Declaration of Performance (DoP).
2017/18: Mandatory audit procedure ratified into TTF Code of Conduct
Mandatory audit procedure on Chinese Plywood was ratified into the TTF Code of Conduct, All TTF Operator members importing plywood from China must have system in place to check and verify product labelling and performance concerning Glue Bond and Species, to (a) improve the quality of the due diligence activities of the importer, in compliance with the CPR, when placing the product on the market, and (b)improve the quality of the product so that it would meet the performances claimed for it.
September 2018: Trial run audit examining the availability of basic due diligence process in place.
September 2019: Independent annual audit measuring the extent to which importers had improved their due diligence process.
October 2019: Evaluation report template released
April 2020: Final Audit Report was completed and sent to individual TTF Members.
November 2020: Training and workshops are being arranged. Please contact TTF for more information.

Enhancing the supply chain

To help support plywood importers in the UK/EU and manufacturers in China with tools and examples to understand, implement and demonstrate compliance in line with the CPR, and to facilitate awareness on common areas of weaknesses and the steps which can be taken to mitigate the risk, the TTF has developed an interactive tool.

 

The tools is currently in draft version, but is available for download for our members. Included in the tool currently are obligations for importers and manufacturers, key steps, requirements and expected outputs, example and common gaps, and a self assessment checklist for importers and manufacturers.