Tracing the timber’s origins

Timber processing and exportation is in the forefront of Vietnamese economy, exporting to a total of 120 countries worldwide with European nations and the U.S markets making up 80% of exportations. To meet the demand for timber products, Vietnam has increased the importation of timber from various countries to be processed and exported from Vietnam although many manufacturing units buy timber without knowing its origins. This however has raised consequential issues of illegal logging and complications in controlling timber origins. Vietnam and EU have thus been in negotiations since 2010 for the signing and implementation of the VPA under FLEGT which will require all timber products imported into the EU to have certified legal origins and will improve traceability. The implementation of the VPA would see Vietnam join the six other countries who are already a part of VPA, and create a system to verify, monitor and grant licenses for legal timber products to be exported.

Although the logging and harvesting of timber from natural forests is banned in Vietnam this has not deterred illegal logging and trade. Surveys conducted by CED with 60 enterprises across the major timber processing hubs in Vietnam revealed a limited understanding from workers on topics such as timber legality and content of FLEGT-VPA. Therefore it is imperative companies are aware of the key contents of these plans for businesses to operate well under these new regulations as well as to prevent further forest destruction from illegal logging.