Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade

Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade

The UK Timber Trade Federation strongly supports FLEGT 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.

Aiding through Trade

The TTF are actively promoting FLEGT, encouraging our members, traders, architects, designers and specifiers to use FLEGT licensed timber.


Increasing 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‘!


Indonesia is currently the only country to have a FLEGT license, with 14 further tropical countries currently working towards FLEGT. The implementing of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), the core of the FLEGT process, takes a long time in order to change engrained governance, implement SFM strategies and enforce country-wide change. The TTF recognise the longevity behind FLEGT, encouraging our members to support the action plan through trade and communication activities to wider stakeholders in the EU.

FLEGT & Certification

The TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy, requires members to undergo a risk management framework ensuring due diligence on their timber products. 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.


FLEGT raises standards across the entire implementing country, whereas voluntary certification schemes raise the standards in the concessional area where the certificate is valid.


However it does not have to be one or the other.


Purchasing and specifying timber that is FLEGT and certification certified is the best way to ensure that timber is legally sourced, benefits local communities and eradicating illegal logging practices.


Combined, FLEGT and certification have a more substantial impact on sustainability for the country, raising the standard for all. Both FLEGT and certification schemes ultimately work towards sustainable forest management, increasingly the supply of responsibly sourced legal timber and working to eradicate illegal logging.  FLEGT and the VPA process met around 60-75% of the requirements for FSC.


Uptake of certification in tropical forests is currently around 6.5% coverage compared to the temperate forests at 16.3% and boreal at 22% coverage. Illegal practices, weak governance and land rights disputes are a few of the issues plaguing tropical forest areas. Recognising the importance of a holistic, country-wide law to change forestry practices led to the formation of FLEGT, requiring transformation to all of the principles behind illegal logging.

Used together, FLEGT & Certification can help achieve mutual benefits

Procuring Sustainable Timber Hover

Procuring Sustainable Timber Hover

E-Learning module 


Acknowledging the stigma around importing tropical timber, deforestation and overall negative perceptions, the Timber Trade Federation are working to promote FLEGT as a legal, verified way to import tropical timber.


Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the TTF are working to grow and promote the use of FLEGT licensed timber among designers, architects, specifiers, traders and other target audiences. The TTF FLEGT project team often attend trade conferences and discussions to promote, encourage discussion around FLEGT and tropical timber while raising awareness.


The project team consists of TTF’s CEO David Hopkins, FLEGT Project Manager Lucy Kamall and FLEGT Communications Executive Lucy Bedry.


The TTF’s FLEGT work plan focus on Europe, FLEGT-licensed Indonesia, VPA implementing Ghana and China.


Through our role as the UK Timber Trade Federation, the TTF encourages communication of FLEGT and encourages our members and other relevant stakeholders to accept and utilise timber from countries engaging with the FLEGT Action Plan. The majority of our work plan is in Europe to increase demand, promotion and awareness of the FLEGT license and VPA process.


Our current projects include:

  • Our Conversations about Climate Change Design Competition – calling on architects, designers, and craftspeople to create ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber.
  • E-Learning modules creation which will communicate the FLEGT message, working to tackle general perceptions around tropical timber and inform designers, architects, specifiers, merchants and further stakeholders on how best to use and specify timber from FLEGT VPA countries
  • Press releases and social media awareness of FLEGT and the VPA process to designers, architects, specifiers, merchants, our members and wider audience to encourage use and demand.

The TTF FLEGT stand at the Brussels Furniture Fair in November 2019, where the team showed videos on FLEGT and VPA countries, distributed fliers and targeted furniture companies using tropical timber with FLEGT messaging.


Indonesia is currently the only FLEGT licensed country. Ghana are currently in the final stages of their VPA implementation, the next expected FLEGT licensed country!


Recognising the potential of these two countries, we work alongside the Global Timber Forum to build capacity with trade associations to effectively participate in their FLEGT VPA process. Being the UK’s Timber Trade Federation with members making up 85% of the UK’s Timber Industry, we are able to communicate European requirements for timber products, strengthen capabilities for trade and inform on how to promote products best for market.


Our work in collaboration with the Global Timber Forum involves:

  • Research to understand the market decline for exports to EU, advise on best practice for promoting Ghana’s timber product exports and opportunities
  • Developing messaging and materials, of FLEGT and their VPA process
  • Developing member services, linking to legality training


Recognising the influence of China and other Asian countries in the tropical belt, we are working with Chinese associations  to communicate European requirements for timber products under the EUTR and CPR. We are promoting FLEGT licenses and buying from FLEGT to meet broader European customer requirements.


The current situation has changed the scope of this project. Our current projects include:

  • Development of guidance for Chinese importers, manufacturers and exporters on meeting the Timber Regulation and the Construction Products Regulation; and guidance/ training guide for EU/UK importers
  • Facilitation and delivery of training workshops with manufacturers and Chinese timber association(s) to disseminate information and foster further exchange; run training seminar with UK/EU stakeholders
  • Factory exchange with Chinese plywood manufacturers and exporters to put theory into practice
  • Continuous dialogue with Chinese timber association(s) to exchange experiences and improve capacity

Design Project

Entitled Conversations about Climate Change, we are challenging architects, designers and craftspeople to create ‘conversation pieces’ from sustainably sourced tropical timbers. We want designers to respond to this material and to consider how their role as a specifier is vital for implementing change while creating a platform for urgent climate debates since the postponing of the COP26 talks.


Winning designs will be created from sustainably sourced tropical hardwood from VPA countries. Timber will be sourced through the Timber Trade Federation’s members in line with the Responsible Purchasing Policy.


More information here.