One of the things we can do to support good forest management, and to help forests remain forests, is to avoid buying illegal wood.
Purchases of illegal wood are bad for forests because they lower their net-preset value, making them more susceptible to deforestation.
How common is illegal wood? Here’s a glance at recent risk events in wood supply chains.
The problem is, just like invisible contaminants in our drinking water, illegal wood leaks into supply chains undetected.
You might be thinking…. “Can’t I just buy wood that has a green certification label?”
Even forest products that get labeled as “certified” can be illegal. How? Because certifications usually occur at the company or forest level. The forest products themselves typically do not undergo a certification process. (For more on this see Can FSC-certified wood be illegal?)
So what can we do? Avoiding the purchase of “tainted” wood products requires that buyers understand not only the origin of the product, but the risks of “contamination” of illegality for that specific product’s supply chain.
More specifically, this means understanding where and how illegal wood might be entering into supply chains. Understanding these points of contamination allows us to make smarter decisions on how we buy wood.
To do this requires access to information on suspected and confirmed forest code violations. For a number of reasons, many of which are unique to the wood products industry, accessing information on illegal wood flows has not been easy. It requires having access to a bigger picture that’s not been readily available.
That’s why the Timber Risk Map was created – to provide easy access to information on legal risks in wood products distribution channels. Although the information contained in the map is not complete, it allows us to get a bigger picture of illegal wood flows. Proactive buyers can even use it to map out and get alerts relative to their specific supply chains.
By no means is the Timber Risk Map a complete, game-changing solution to avoid buying illegal wood. But for buyers who want to buy good wood, it’s quick and easy way to get better information about wood product supply chains.
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Stay up to date on legal risks in wood product supply chains with the Timber Risk Map.
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