Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade

Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade

The UK Timber Trade Federation strongly supports the EU FLEGT Action Plan and is working to grow the demand for FLEGT-licensed timber in Europe. The UK along with other EU member states have a strong partnership with the 15 countries who are implementing the FLEGT VPA process.


Acting as a membership body, the TTF applies pressure on the timber industry to integrate sustainable procurement policies into their businesses, utilise sustainable forest management, as well as supporting FLEGT and VPA countries through trade.

The Timber Trade Federation FLEGT project

The Timber Trade Federation are promoting FLEGT-licensed timber as a legal and verified way to import tropical timber – stimulating European markets to use and grow the demand for FLEGT among stakeholders, including designers, architects, specifiers and traders.


Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the TTF’s FLEGT project focuses on Europe – recognising this as one of the main markets for FLEGT-licensed timber and a strong actor behind the FLEGT Action Plan – FLEGT-licensed Indonesia, VPA implementing Ghana and China – as a strong power of influence for trade and requirement standards.


Conversations about Climate Change is the TTF’s FLEGT project design competition, exhibition and event series, in collaboration with the Building Centre. Winning designs will be created from responsibly sourced tropical hardwood from VPA countries sourced through TTF members in line with the Responsible Purchasing Policy. More information can be found here

Aiding through Trade

The Timber Trade Federation are promoting the use of FLEGT-licensed timber – encouraging specification and integration into purchasing policies.


Increased pressure on the timber industry to follow responsible procurement practices, source from sustainably managed forests and eradicate illegal logging, led to the formation of FLEGT. Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is the EU’s response to the problem of illegal logging and trade in tropical countries through strengthened sustainable forest management (SFM), improved governance and promotion of trade in legally produced timber.


Timber from a FLEGT-licensed country is considered to have undergone due diligence due to the timber legality assurance system of the supplier country. Therefore buying FLEGT-licensed timber means that you do not need to undergo further due diligence as authorities of the EUTR consider this proof of legality and give it a ‘green lane‘!

Responsibility of timber traders

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) aims to reduce illegal logging by ensuring that no illegal timber or timber products can be sold in the EU. This was created as part of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan.


Buying from certification sources or a country that is FLEGT-licensed is one way that companies can reduce the risk and demand of buying illegally sourced timber. The TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy, requires members to undergo a risk management framework ensuring due diligence on their timber products.


Certification, born from a raising awareness of deforestation and illegal logging in the early 19990s, set strict management standards for forestry companies to meet within their defined concession areas and against which they can be audited for compliance by a verified third party.


FLEGT by comparison is a country-wide government process, designed to reduce levels of illegal logging and improve forest governance. This process undergoes a independent auditor, and in some countries a independent monitoring system and regular meetings between the EU and timber producing country to assess progress. As a result, FLEGT licences are effectively ‘triple verified‘.


The FLEGT Action Plan and Certification both have merits and shortcomings, which David Hopkins and Saskia Ozinga explore in depth in their joint publication on Chatham House – Tackling Deforestation: The Need for Regulation. Their summary conclusion is: “forest certification has been pioneering and can play a role in reducing deforestation, but without proper regulation, its impacts will be limited or lost altogether”.

Used together, FLEGT & Certification can help achieve mutual benefits

Procuring Sustainable Timber Hover

Procuring Sustainable Timber Hover

E-Learning module 


The majority of our work plan is in Europe to increase demand, promotion and awareness of the FLEGT Action Plan, licensing and VPAs

– Conversations about Climate Change: Design competition, exhibition and event series

– E-Learning modules to communicate the FLEGT message, tackling perceptions about tropical timber and inform stakeholders how to specify and use tropical hardwood

– PR and social media awareness of FLEGT and the VPA process to encourage use and demand


Indonesia is currently the only FLEGT licensed country. Achieving FLEGT-licensing status in November 2016, Indonesia is one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber products – the value of this trade was €10.4 billion in 2019.

On the 23rd September, the Indonesian Embassy in London hosted a webinar in collaboration with the Timber Trade Federation FLEGT team, UK Government and British Retail Consortium. We heard insight updates on the latest development of Indonesia’s timber products in the UK market. The recording is available here


Ghana is currently in the final stages of their VPA implementation, the next expected FLEGT licensed country! They were the first country to begin negotiations in 2007 to tackle poor forest governance. In 2018, the EU accounted for 11% of Ghana’s timber exports.


The TTF’s members make up 85% of the UK’s Timber Industry, putting us in a strong position to communicate European requirements for timber products, strengthen capabilities for trade and inform on how to best promote products for market and trade.


We work in collaboration with the Global Timber Forum for work in country: advising on best practice, developing messaging and materials and developing member services, linking to legality training.


Recognising the influence of China and other Asian countries on the tropical belt, we are working to communicate European requirements for timber products under the EUTR and CPR. We are promoting FLEGT licenses and buying from FLEGT-licensed countries as a method to meet broader European customer requirements.

– Development of guidance for Chinese importers, manufacturers and exporters on meeting requirements; and guidance/ training guide for EU/ UK importers

– Factory exchange with Chinese plywood manufacturers and exporters

– Continuous dialogue