Latest News

29 November 2013

Sustainable Timber Action project comes to a close

With the publication of the 2nd edition of the Buying Sustainable Timber guide, and the launch of the European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition, the Sustainable Timber Action project has now come to an end.

We would like to thank all those people and organisations outside the project consortium who have contributed to making the project such a success over the last three years. ICLEI and the consortium partners will continue to be active in promoting sustainable timber procurement in Europe, through the European STTC and other initiatives. We hope to find further collaboration opportunities in the future.

All STA publications will remain available online for several years. If you would like to keep up-to-date with ICLEI’s work on sustainable procurement, please sign up to receive our Sustainable Procurement Update (three issues per year) by sending an email to, or by subscribing here.
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13 November 2013

Procura+ seminar looks at protecting forests by making them valuable to communities

Putting an economic value on forests that benefit biodiversity and local communities through developing markets for legal and sustainable tropical timber, and by doing so removing the incentive for unsustainable exploitation or land conversion, was the central topic of discussion at this year’s Procura+ Sustainable Procurement Campaign Seminar, held on 6 November in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) as part of the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC) launch event.

The Procura+ Annual Meeting, held on the second day of the event, looked at the implications of the revised Procurement Directives on the implementation of sustainable public procurement (SPP) in EU Member States. Roundtable discussions provided an ideal opportunity for Procura+ Participants, national partners and others to exchange achievements, barriers and suggestions based on their recent experiences with implementing SPP. The meeting benefitted from the participation of the Campaign Chair and two Vice Chairs from the City of Helsinki (Finland), the Province of Barcelona (Spain) and the City of Malmö (Sweden) respectively, representing initiatives and ideas from three of Europe’s leading SPP regions.

Points of particular interest raised during the meeting included; Malmo’s collaboration with local labour unions to ensure transparency and fair working conditions; Barcelona City’s umbrella strategy incorporating 10 product and service categories for which SPP criteria are being made mandatory; Catalunya Waste Agency’s initiative that brings together producers and buyers of recycled products and Oslo’s (Norway) framework contract for auditing suppliers according to social criteria. Proposed solutions to challenges faced by public authorities included using contracts to oblige suppliers to provide information for monitoring purposes and using overall savings achieved by redefining need to justify price premiums for more sustainable products or services.

For more information, click here.

5 November 2013

New Sustainable Timber Procurement Toolkit by Sustainable Scotland Network

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) has recently developed a toolkit to help support public sector organisations looking to develop a sustainable timber policy or strategy, or requiring sustainable timber or any other forest product criteria in tenders for a new contract.

The toolkit includes sample policy wording, tender questions, a contract monitoring spread sheet and a number of case studies. As part of this, SSN worked with staff at Falkirk Council to produce a short film about their experiences.

SSN works with the public sector in Scotland to support action on sustainable development, including programmes on climate change and sustainable procurement. Since 2011, it has worked in partnership with WWF-UK on its “What Wood You Choose?” campaign to raise awareness of the economic, social and environmental consequences of purchasing illegal or unsustainable forest products, ranging from construction timber to paper.

For more information, click here.

25 October 2013

Second edition of STA guide to purchasing sustainable timber published

Following considerable interest and feedback on the first edition of Buying sustainable timber, the STA guide for public procurers on sustainable timber procurement, a new edition was published in October 2013.

This edition expands on the information contained in the original publication, and aims to align the definition of sustainable forestry with those of different Member States in the EU. It includes guidance on recent legal changes, completely revised technical specifications and up to date information about other European timber initiatives. Ways that public authorities can support smaller businesses are also touched on.

Additionally, the guide outlines replicable information on supporting Fair Trade in Timber procurement, and looks at methods to combine sustainable timber procurement with other policy goals, such as awareness raising activities. The guide will soon also be available in German, Italian, Estonian, Romanian, Spanish and Hungarian. Printed copies of the English guide can be requested from

To download the 2nd edition, click here [pdf, 9.5 MB].
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2 October 2013

A first step towards FLEGT licensed timber – Indonesia signs VPA

The European Timber Regulation (EUTR) has left many public procurers as well as timber importers and suppliers with a lot of uncertainty of what can be considered legal timber. One strategy for proof of legality which was implemented prior to the EUTR is the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT).

Under FLEGT the EU signs Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with timber exporting countries. These VPAs include measures taken by both sides to verify origin and legality of the timber.
Specifically the implementation of a transparent logging rights licensing system. FLEGT licensed timber imported to the EU will be then considered legal under the requirements of the EUTR without any further risk assessment measures.

Various countries are currently in negotiations for VPAs but so far only Indonesia has implemented its licensing and auditing system widely and signed the agreement. The country will issue its first FLEGT licenses in 2014.

For more information, click here.

16 September 2013

EUTR monitoring organisations recognised, applications invited

When the European Timber regulation came into force in April of this year many details of the implementation were unclear. Slowly, these details are being worked out. Recently the first official monitoring organisations were recognised: NEPCon and Conlegno.

Monitoring organisations play an integral part in ensuring companies and traders follow their due diligence when trading timber and timber products preventing the import of illegally harvested timber to the European Union. Monitoring organisations oversee and verify the provision of information along the supply chain, the risk management and mitigation as well as requests from third party operators or the public. A detailed account of their responsibilities can be found here.

Institutions can now apply to be recognised as an official Monitoring organisation cleared for working on a national or European level.

For more information, click here.

2 September 2013

New legal timber regulations explained

ClientEarth, an environmental organisation, has published a document entitled ‘Implications of the new EU Timber Regulation for public procurement’. Public authorities spend hundreds of billions of euros on goods, services and works, and with this public authorities can make a real impact when purchasing timber products. Therefore, ensuring that they are compliant with the new EUTR and its implications for procurement policy as well as adopting best practice is important for public bodies.

The authors of the document stress that good information gathering and record-keeping is central to this process. Although it is unlikely that public authorities will have to exercise the same due diligence as timber suppliers with regard to the product’s provenance, they will have to keep records of some other details. Additionally, the document notes that while the EUTR requires legal timber to be sourced by public authorities, it does not require that timber come from sustainably managed sources. Conversely, timber that is sustainably sourced cannot be presumed to be legal according to the EUTR rules.

The document concludes by saying that public bodies need to first assess whether and to what degree they are impacted by the EUTR: for example, as a supplier who first places timber on the EU market, to those of a trader further down the supply chain.

For more information, click here.
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7 August 2013

Cornwall first local authority to join the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition

The European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC) encourages local authorities to strengthen their commitment to sustainable timber procurement. Cornwall County Council was the first local authority to join this initiative.

The EU STTC aims to boost the market for sustainable tropical timber - with public procurement seen as a key tool. It brings together partners from local, regional and national governments, as well as organisations from the private sector. It offers direct support to local governments which commit to sustainable timber procurement and membership is free of charge.

Cornwall has a commendable timber procurement policy which requires council officers to take sustainability considerations into account when procuring. One key objective of the council's commitment is the purchasing of legal and sustainably sourced timber and wood derived products - wherever possible, independently verified. Recycled, re-used and re-manufactured products are also compliant. Cornwall’s policies can be found, along with other interesting publications, in our Resource Database on Sustainable Timber Procurement. Cornwall has also been featured in STA’s good practice series.

For more information, click here.

22 July 2013

New guidelines on procurement of native tree species

Public authorities do not only procure timber and timber products but also trees and seedlings for parks, urban areas and forests. Procuring native trees which are indigenous to the region can enhance biodiversity and mitigate vulnerability to pests and undesirable weather.

The German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has published a procurement guide which helps public authorities to procure native trees without violating the regulations of the Internal European Market. It includes advice for each phase of procurement process and ideas for coping with the currently limited availability of native trees and seedlings, as well as additional information on the beneficial effects of planting native species.

By 2020 all trees purchased by German public authorities have to be indigenous trees. Until this time local governments must slowly phase out other species. You can also find this guide, along with other interesting publications, in our Resource Database on Sustainable Timber Procurement.

For more information, click here [in German].

5 July 2013

Creating Sustainable Timber Markets in Amsterdam

The Sustainable Timber Action project in cooperation with IDH and ProBos is presenting the first large scale European event for sustainable timber procurement on 6 November in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Every year, thousands of hectares of tropical forest are being destroyed. European public authorities play a large role in reversing this trend. The power of sustainable timber procurement as well as Europe’s role in the sustainable use of tropical forests will be central themes of the event: ‘Creating sustainable timber markets - Launching the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition’.

The conference will mark the launch of the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC) as well as the presentation of the outcomes of the Sustainable Timber Action project. The event will also feature the annual Sustainable Procurement Seminar of the Procura+ Campaign.

The event addresses local, regional and national government representatives as well as private sector organisations. It is free of charge. Coverage of travel costs may be possible. For more information, contact

To register for the event, please use the code 4525931 and click here.
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The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Sustainable Timber Action Project Consortium and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.