Sourcing plywood from China responsibly

Sourcing plywood from China responsibly

ARTICLE · By TTF · 21 October 2020

Improving the reliability, quality and sustainability of plywood sourced from China remains a focus of the Timber Trade Federation, as it should be for any of our importing members.

Tropical plywood from China is still high on both our risk radar, and the radars of NGOs and Competent Authorities because of non-compliance in due diligence on composite products from China.

China’s revised Forest Law, which requires a better understanding and working practice of domestic factories to avoid sourcing known illegal timber, could have a positive push for improvement once implemented. However, sourcing composite products with tropical species from China, should be considered inherently high risk.

These products are accompanied by low scores on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in both the country of harvest and processing, an abundance of illegal logging reports, and a high likelihood of mixing (with non-declared species or species of different origins) within the supply chain.

Sourcing tropical timber requires robust due diligence by the operator to ensure that relevant risks are properly identified and mitigated before placing on the market. It also requires better control on the factory floor and in the sourcing practices of Chinese manufacturers importing from high-risk regions.

Below we’ve summarised some key areas of misconceptions when sourcing from China. TTF members are also advised to use our self-assessment and reporting template to examine if common high-risk factors are covered and gaps in due diligence are addressed; A factory-checklist is also available for members when importing structural plywood from China.

Want to learn more about the common Due Diligence errors when importing plywood from Chinese factories? Check out our Case study ‘Due Diligence on timber products imported from China‘.

Other resources

1. Use this step-by-step guide to identify if the common high-risk factors are present in your supply chain and what mitigation measures might be necessary.

2. This guidance aims to 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 Construction Product Regulation (CPR).

3. This checklist is intended as a guide to assist UK/EU Importers during factory visit/evaluation as part of their due diligence process under UK Timber Regulation (UKTR) and Construction Product Regulation (CPR).

4. Download a printable version of the myths versus realities of responsibly sourcing timber from China.

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