We wrote in August 2015 advising of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ intention to renew its emphasis on ensuring that importers of timber and timber products complied with the Illegal Logging Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012, by instituting a system of audits.
These regulations aim to reduce the impact of illegal logging on the environment by requiring due diligence in order to reduce the theft, laundering and trade of illegal timber.
This was somewhat of a soft start as until now the process of customs brokers requiring importers to complete a form indicating whether they had undertaken due diligence with regard to the sustainability credentials of their timber imports and the typical procedure of checking ‘no’ against due diligence box continued without consequence.
This is set to change.
Illegal Logging Penalties:
DAWRs has recently announced that as of 1 January 2018 compliance requirements and audits will be in place. If your business does not meet its regulatory obligations by this time, we expect that your ability to import timber products will be affected and you may be subject to financial penalties of up to 300 points or $63,000.
What do I need to do?:
Ensure that all products listed above that are imported or exported by your organisation have been subject to due diligence to ensure that they are not sourced from illegally harvested timber.
What does a Due Diligence process look like?:
- Establish a due diligence system
Must be in writing and include the steps and processed throughout your supply chain that allow you (the importer) to meet the due diligence requirements.
- Gather relevant information
Attempt to gather certain prescribed information that is reasonably practicable to gather
- The type and trade name of the timber
- The common or scientific name of the tree from which the timber has been harvested
- The country or region from which the timber was harvested
- Any other relevant documentation that can be used to prove the legality of the product
- Assess the risk
Use the information gathered to apply a risk assessment to the product.
a. Timber legality Frameworks
If the product is certified under one of the following it is considered low risk:
- The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) https://au.fsc.org/en-au
- The PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) https://www.pefc.org/
- The European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Standards http://www.flegt.org/
b. Use a Country Specific Guidelines (CSG) to assist in identifying risk factors specific to timber and timber products harvested within the country listed http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/information-resources#state-specific-guidelines Available for Canada, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands
c. Prescribed Risk Factors (if the two above options are not available). The factors that need to be addressed are:
- The prevalence of illegal logging in the general area where timber was harvested
- Whether the trees species from which the timber has been derived is being illegally logged in the area of harvest.
- The prevalence of armed conflict in the area where the tree was harvested
- The complexity of the product.
- Any other information that might indicate that the timber has been illegally harvested.
- Mitigate risk
If the risk assessment finds that the risk of the timber being illegally harvested is not categorised as low risk, a risk mitigation process must be applied. There is no “prescribed” risk mitigation strategy however it must be adequate and proportionate to counteract the identified risk.
What will Magellan require?:
An authorisation to answer ‘yes’ to the Community Protection Question that asks has the importer complied with the due diligence requirements of the illegal logging prohibition Act 2012 and the associated regulations.
For more information:
At Magellan, we have your back when it comes to all customs and international freight matters. Get in touch with me if you have any questions about compliance with the Illegal logging regulations on 1300 651 888 or email me at email@example.com