Sustainable trade needs responsible reporting

Sustainable trade needs responsible reporting

BLOG · BY TTF CEO, DAVID HOPKINS · 05 October

Responsible purchasing and Due Diligence is a central tenet of TTF membership. We take this duty extremely seriously, and are constantly seeking to improve.

A couple of weeks ago we published a new TTF Due Diligence Toolkit. This week we’ve added to our resources with a Due Diligence case study of China, and a new article breaking down ‘What does Due Diligence looks like?’. These resources look particularly well timed, given events over the past week.

TTF Members may be aware of a news article published by the Environmental Investigation Agency stating that the Dutch Competent Authority had ordered a Dutch importer to stop importing Chinese plywood with a “tropical face” and that the company was in breach of the EUTR.

High-profile alerts from NGOs like this are usually picked up by TTF to pass on to members. However, we also like to corroborate the facts within the article.

We reached out to all the parties involved on behalf of our members to try and seek out the facts but have been unable to corroborate the claims made in the article. These efforts have been frustrated with a lack of details, which we would normally expect to be available.

Responsible sourcing of timber harvested from legal and responsible tropical sources helps keep forests standing, and we can support this by keeping the trade alive and working with supply chain players to make positive changes on the ground.

Unfortunately, tabloid-style unsubstantiated reporting from NGOs can quickly undermine these efforts.

Given the vital role NGOs play in shaping Due Diligence, helping highlight potential risks from regions, companies or products, and initiate positive transformations across the industry, we have made a series of recommendations for all parties involved to avoid such matters in future.

On a more positive note, the most recent figures for timber imports and exports support the idea of a ‘v’ shaped economic recovery, with comparative annual volume nearly at equilibrium following the significant dip we saw in both categories in Q1.

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